BBL unlikely to pass without Charter Change – former Chief Justice Puno

MANILA, Philippines — Due to the current form of government the Philippines has, which is unitary, former Chief Justice Reynato Puno said the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) will face difficulty or may not totally succeed.

This is because the constitutionality of BBL is more likely to be challenged before the Supreme Court.

For the former chief justice, the conduct of a charter change first before the BBL is a safer course.

“It will be very difficult for this bill to overcome a constitutional challenge before the Supreme Court because precisely we have a unitary government that is not empowered to grant this identity-based demands of our Muslim brothers. These identity-based demands can be granted only in a federal form of government,” Puno said.

The former chief justice also said, the sooner the Philippine government is federalized, the better, especially since it is hard to tell how long it would take to transition to a new system of government.

However, there are no particular appointees yet for the 25-member consultative committee ordered created by President Duterte in December 2016 to review the provisions of the 1987 Philippine Constitution.

Even former Chief Justice Puno himself who is reportedly a nominee and a popular federalism advocate has not received any formal offer from Malacañang.

“I do not know if the commission has been fully constituted but as far as I know, I have yet an appointment so there is nothing to accept,” Puno said.

Malacañang pointed out that the appointment of certain people for the consultative committee to review the constitution, which will give way to the charter change and federal form of government undergoes certain processes.

“People are being vetted. I believe as far as I am concerned, people are being tapped and I think they are just waiting for the right time,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella. – Rosalie Coz | UNTV News & Rescue

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