Palace denies Php1.5-B offer to congressman in exchange of BBL passage

MANILA, Dec. 10 (PNA) – Malacanang on Thursday denied reports that President Benigno Aquino III has offered Php1.5 billion worth of projects to congressmen in exchange of the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

The offer was allegedly made to the 150 congressmen who attended a luncheon meeting in Malacanang last Tuesday.

According to the reports, the solons have declined the offer and instead asked a whopping Php20 million in cash for every congressman who will vote for the BBL passage.

”That allegation is not true,” Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a text message to the media.

The House of Representatives is reportedly getting difficulty to muster quorum, resulting in the delay of the interpellations on the proposed law that is needed for the creation of the Bangsamoro political entity in Mindanao.

In the Senate, the interpellation on the BBL’s substitute bill entitled Basic Law on the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BLBAR) has already started with Senator Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos, vice presidential aspirant, sponsoring the proposed bill.

Senate minority leader Juan Ponce Enrile is currently interpellating the bill, vowing to scrutinize the BLBAR “with no intention to block its passage.”

The Senate has only three remaining session days left this year to act on the BLBAR. The Upper Chamber is scheduled to take Christmas break on Dec. 17.

The third regular session of the 16th Congress will resume on January 18 next year but will adjourn again on Feb. 5 to give way the campaign period for the 2016 elections. (PNA)

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