By Ali G. Macabalang
BULUAN, Maguindanao – Congressman Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu has urged the Senate to adopt the House of Representatives’ bill on postponing the 2022 Bangsamoro parliament election and extending transition period of the southern autonomous government, saying this will hasten the bicameral harmonization process and pave the way for the entry of more competent interim regional legislators and administrators.
Mangudadatu issued the call on Saturday as he host the segment here of mass actions of thousands of people who staged simultaneous peace rallies and caravans across the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) to thank the two chambers of Congress for passing their bills and President Duterte for certifying urgency in the legislation.
BARMM, which covers Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi and the cities of Cotabato, Marawi and Lamitran as well as 63 villages in North Cotabato, has seen “glitters of hope” to catch up with developed regions after the legislative bodies approved the mass call for an extended Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) lifespan, according to him.
Mangudadatu, representing the 2nd Congressional district of this province, said the Presidential certification mattered much in the lower chamber’s swift approval on third and final reading of House Bill 1021 on Sept. 15, and will likewise help hasten the conduct of the bicameral conference required to harmonize it with Senate Bill 2214.
“Iyon ang pinakahihintay namin na sertipikahan na urgent ang panukalang batas. Makakatulong din ito na mapabilis ang bicameral conference,” Rep. Mangudadatu told the Philippine Muslim Today (PMT) news, referring to Duterte’s certification dated Sept. 14.
The Senate and the House will likewly announce this Monday, Sept. 20, the compositions of their joint panels and the start of their bicameral conference on Tuesday, said Mangudadatu, principal author of HB 10121.
He said the House panel is composed of himself, Deputy Speakers Bernadette Herrera-Dy and Loren Legarda, and Reps. Juliet Marie De Leon-Ferrer, Ronnie Sinsuat and Ansaruddin “Hooky” Alonto Adiong, who may be represented by Yasser Balindong. The last two lawmakers are both from Lanao del Sur.
The Senate, on the other hand, will comprise Senators Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, Ronald dela Rosa, Sherwin Gatchalian, Riza Hontiveros and Francis Tolentino, author of SB 2214 that was passed on third and final reading on Sept. 6, Rep. Mangudadatu said, citing initial information.
Both HB 11021 and SB 2214 seek to amend a provision in R.A. 11054 or Bangsamoro Organic Law that set the first regular election of BARMM’s 80 members of parliament on May 9, 2022 in time with the synchronized national and local polls, and defer the regional voting to extend the BTA lifespan to 2025. BTA is BARMM’s interim ruling body.
But they differ on the question of who will appoint the 80 members of an extended BTA, which is presently composed of appointees by President Duterte serving until June 30, 2022.
SB 2214 is silent on who between the sitting and next President will name the BTA members, while HB 1012 clearly provides that “upon the approval of law” postponing the 2022 regional poll, the sitting President shall appoint the BTA members.
According to legal luminaries, the House bill’s intent is possible because President Duterte has the power to recall the BTA members’ appointments and appoint their replacement.
Mangudadatu said the BTA members’ appointment will still pursue the intent of R.A. 11054 or BOL, which mandates naming of 41 nominees from the Moro Islamic Liberation (MILF) and 39 counterparts from the government’s choice of six representatives from the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the rest from various sectors.
Local socio-economic and legal experts said the House version will aptly respond to public clamor for replacement of “some misfits” in the current BTA members. (BTA)