House suspends Bangsamoro hearing

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 26 2015 04:32 PM | Updated as of Jan 27 2015 12:32 AM

MANILA -- The recent Maguindanao clash between police and members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has put the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law in limbo.

Representatives at the Lower House on Monday agreed to suspend deliberations on portions of the bill pending a full investigation on the bloody clash.

The ad hoc committee on the Bangsamoro suspended mid-day what was supposed to be a whole day executive session to finalize the bill prior to endorsement to plenary.

Monday was supposed to be first day of the series of executive sessions to finalize the bill.

Ad hoc committee chairman Rufus Rodriguez announced the suspension of Monday's afternoon discussions.

"The ad hoc committee has approved a resolution strongly condemning the killings that happened in Maguidnanao. We also condemn the bombings in Zamboanga,'' he said.

"We have called on four agencies of government to immediately investigate and report to the House of Representatives who were behind the killings and what measures to do to prevent future occurrences.

''The following agencies have been requested to investigate fully, leaving no stone unturned, first the Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Office of the President Adviser on the Peace Process, and the ARMM government. There is a deadline. We don't want a long investigation."

Rodriguez said he wants the committee to receive a report on the incident by February 2.

The lawmakers intend to pass the BBL by March.

''So far, the deadline stays. It's a self-imposed deadline by the committee. We ourselves set the deadline, we will consider everything."

Muntinlupa Rep. Rodolfo Biazon, however, said keeping the deadline to pass the law will be difficult. After enactment, the law still needs to be ratified in a plebiscite before it becomes implementable.

''Mahihirapan yung March. Hindi naman dapat payagang ma-derail. We have to address the issues so that whatever we're going to produce will be the right one,'' Biazon said.

Biazon added the government must respond to the violent incidents, underscoring the importance of coordinated efforts.

''How do you coordinate with elements you're running after? Ano ba inbig sabihin ng 'coordination'," he asked.

The BBL seeks to operationalize the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, which in turn is intended to end the decades-old secessionist movement in Mindanao.