Moro-Christian group questions secrecy in Bangsamoro law discussions

‘Aquino mangled BBL’

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A group of Muslims and Christians on Sunday accused President Benigno Aquino 3rd of mangling the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), an act that showed his administration’s “insincerity” in pushing for lasting peace
in Mindanao.

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The Aquino administration’s peace negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are “insincere, dishonest and deceptive. [President] Aquino cannot flaunt in his fifth State of the Nation Address the success of the GPH-MILF peace talks,” the Moro Christians Peoples Alliance (MCPA) said in a statement posted on luwaran.com, the official MILF website.

GPH stands for Government of the Philippines.

“Two months after the MILF-led Bangsamoro Transition Commission [BTC] submitted the draft [BBL] to Malacanang, Aquino failed to certify and submit the draft as an urgent bill to Congress. Instead, Aquino’s legal team mangled the BBL draft. The MILF declared as unacceptable the ‘diluted Malacanang version’ of the BBL,” the group said.

The MCPA also questioned the secrecy of the discussions regarding the supposed revisions of the BBL, saying that keeping the developments away from the public eye naturally draws suspicion.

“Until now, the people are kept blind [on]the contents of the BBL and Malacañang’s revisions. It is [in]Malacañang’s interests that the contents of the BBL remain confidential to conceal its deception, dishonesty and insincerity in negotiating peace,” the group said.

The MCPA issued the statements as Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. on Sunday again gave assurances that the government and MILF panels crafting the final version of the BBL are working full-time to ensure that each line in the measure conforms with the Constitution.

“According to Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, the head of the Philippine panel, they are discussing how to put to law the provisions of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro. They are working hard to reach an agreement with regard to the proper language to ensure [its]constitutionality,” Coloma said in a radio interview.

This way, the Palace official explained, the two panels will avoid lengthy debates in Congress that could eat up much time before it can be passed.

“Both panels know that the BBL will have to pass through Congress so they are working very hard to ensure that it will not require changes in the Constitution to hasten the [peace]process according to the peace process roadmap,” Coloma said.

But the MCPA, one of the largest people’s networks in southern Philippines, said Aquino “conjured [up]the illusion that peace now reigns in the Bangsamoro homeland, [but]now considers the BBL as unconstitutional that needs major revisions.”

“The Aquino regime will not enter into any agreement that is contrary to the Philippine Constitution, which guarantees and protects the current social system. More so, if the agreement concedes even limited power and benefit [to]the Moro people. Aquino’s rejection of the BBL is beyond the question of constitutionality. Aquino’s main objective is to preserve the interests of the ruling elite,” the group added.

It said Malacanang should not have tinkered with the submitted draft bill because it was formulated based on the agreed and signed Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and its four annexes and the CAB that were approved by the government and MILF panels.

“Aquino also conducted his peace negotiations in bad faith.

In the midst of the GPH-MILF peace negotiations, President Aquino publicly declared the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao [ARMM] a failed experiment that has to be abolished and replaced with the Bangsamoro in 2016. In spite of this declaration, President Aquino used more than P8 billion from the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) to resurrect the failed experiment,” the MCPA noted.

With the way Aquino conducts his peace initiatives, genuine and lasting peace remains elusive in the Bangsamoro homeland, it said.

“It appears that the objective of the Aquino regime in entering [into]the peace process is merely to pacify and quell the people’s armed resistance instead of addressing the root causes of the conflict. The MILF and the [communist]National Democratic Front share the same experience,” the group added.

It claimed that the “reforms” instituted in the ARMM were only a “political ploy” and part of a strategy to tighten the government’s control and influence in the region even beyond 2016.

“The move is to consolidate political patronage in the resource-rich and vote-rich Muslim Mindanao. Aquino is preparing the current local government officials and loyal allies to challenge the MILF leadership and candidates in the 2016 elections for the Bangsamoro National Assembly. This is the highest form of treachery against the Moro people,” the MCPA said.

The group also scored Presidential Peace Adviser Teresita Quintos Deles and ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman for their “shameless admission” that the reforms in the ARMM were made possible by billions in DAP funds.

It said that the dangling of the DAP funds to achieve peace “exposes Aquino’s hypocrisy and dishonesty in the GPH-MILF peace negotiations.”

But Coloma maintained that Aquino and MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad are determined to conclude the crafting of the BBL and to submit it for congressional approval soon.

“This is determination in the highest level so that this should send out the signal to all to work for the immediate submission of the draft BBL,” he said.

“Suffice it to say that each chapter, every step is being scrutinized by both panels to ensure that the draft law will also conform with the CAB… constitutional questions in the future could further delay the passage of the law,” Coloma added.

Be patient
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), meanwhile, called on the MILF to be more patient amid reports that MILF commanders were getting restless over the delay in the submission of the draft BBL.

Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, chief of the military’s Public Affairs Office (PAO), also on Sunday said the military leadership fully supports the peace talks and has instructed all military commanders in Mindanao to hold dialogues with their MILF counterparts.

“We stay positive. We don’t want [violence]. That’s the last thing we want. We are fully supportive of the peace process,” Zagala added.

The GPH and MILF peace panels are in the thick of discussions to thresh out problematic provisions in the draft BBL.

The two panels agreed to sit down from August 1 to 10 in Davao City after they failed to agree on a mutually-accepted version of the draft BBL during their workshops in Kuala Lumpur and Manila.

The 10-day meeting is one of the longest working sessions in the peace process.

Chief government negotiator Ferrer had said the two sides will submit the draft BBL to Congress this month.

With WILLIAM B. DEPASUPIL

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15 Comments

  1. People should realize that the constitution, being the basic and fundamental law of the land, must always be the yardstick of any other law or statute that our congress will make.

    The Civil Code provides, “When the courts declare a law to be inconsistent with the constitution, the former shall be void and the latter shall govern.” [Art.7 (2) NCC]

    That is the reason why Malacañang is making sure that a draft of the BBL, before the president will certify it and submit it to Congress, must be consistent with the constitution. Otherwise, it will just be an exercise in futility if it will not be approved by Congress; or if approved by congress and became a law, it will be struck by the supreme court as unconstitutional.

    While it is ideal that the BBL must reflect the signed agreement between the GPH and the MILF, the same must still be consistent with the constitution for it to withstand legal scrutiny.

    Let everyone, therefore, be patient. Let us not rush the passing of the BBL. Let us allow a careful and yet sure crafting of a draft of the BBL, one that is consistent with the constitution in all aspects…

  2. AAaay! There’s money earmarked for this year and next year for them. So, they have all the finances to go to war against Phil. govt troops. Now, whoever draws the first blood will be the determining factor as to who to blame when the dust settles. Ang tagal na guerra iyan noon panahon ni Lapu-lapu eh gulo na iyan. There’s no peace and I’ve said before kahit sa sarili nilang wika hindi magkaintindihan ngayon pa me english at tagalog pa. Me nalalagyan at meroon panatico kaya you have to let them understand it’s better to live a life of a coward than to be a dead hero. Panahon pa ni Achilles iyan history pero ayun binabasa pa ang buhay niya? Hindi, life is too short and lets not make it shorter. Ika nga the mentality is “bahal na bukas” lets deal with it now and if they want war in exchange for their unwary demands then give it to them. After all you’ve already funded their cause. (Walang Aatras Rakrakan)

  3. PNoy just tried to be a peace-keeper rather than a peace-maker. His objective from the very start is just to get through his accidental presidency without any major trouble in the southern part of our country.

  4. Since the “Nobel Prize” scenario of the President is already exposed, which means the President will not be nominated, what for is the “Bangsamoro”? – Trash.

  5. Surrender or all out war the only solution to lasting peace.Check with Sri Lankan military how they defeat a strong Tamil Tiger.now have peace only one military and police in the country.It can be done if they dont surrender.MNLF,MILF,BIFF and ABU SAYYAF,dont know about the law most of them are illiterate,never got a chance to go to school because of the fighting.Then this so called leaders take advantage of them due to lack of education.These leaders will be driving fancy SUV,big mansions,bodyguards,drivers,maids and good food everyday,then their followers will still be poor and uneducated.Gising Bayan

    • This bangsamoro will not be an entity if the armed forces don’t play Moro-Moro to this lawless rebels. Malaysia is the financier of this group. Erap declared that there is only one army but the AFP so MILF run and left their camps when erap ordered the attack until Gen. Reyes (no resting in hell) balimbingized and gone to Arroyo.

  6. Lord Chimera on

    If one expecting BSA to do something comprehensive or logical then the mangling of the BBA is surprise…

  7. Pres Aquino must get the involvement not only of his official advisers but also his critics
    to attain the most rightful decision regarding this issue.

  8. aresyo goodfriend on

    Pinoy’s good intentions were jeopardized by poor advise. He should have consulted a constitutional expert before formulating agreement with other parties. What PNOY needs is an alter ego that is expert and has full understanding of the Philippine Constitution.

    • Roldan Guerrero on

      A BOBO can not persuade top guns to join his team. It is a general rule for intellectuls people not to be dictated and much more to be bribed by an IDIOT. That is the reason why this government is existing in a very inferior and sub-standard situation.

  9. The BBL was doomed from the start. There is no way to obtain what is desired from the MILF or other factions and pass legal review. This administration decided to forget about the legal stuff and just get an agreement signed. They paid off the MILF but now do not have the pork to pay off the congress anymore. The illegal portions are dead.

  10. Carlo L. Adan on

    Tinutuwid na siguro ni PNoy ang kaululan niya in dealing with the MILF separatists. As usual huli na ang lahat.

  11. Aquinos Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro with MILF only demonstrate his myopic and insincere approach to the Mindanao problem. He failed to realize that the Moro issue had been lodged in the hands of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation with the signing of the Tripoli Agreement in 1976. Had he been adviced to let the OIC tackle first the Concergience of all the Moro fronts first before entering into talks with them, then he would have lesser problem. But no he practically has become part of the problem made it more complicated.

  12. In the public’s eye, it looks like the government is put on a defensive position, relative to the BBL. The public were made to believe that during the process of negotiation that the GPH negotiators were in constant contact with Congress/Palace to be sure the final result of the CAB will be constitutional. One would think that if BBL is based on the CAB, why would it not be constitutional? For this I do not blame the Citizens for being skeptical and suspicious of all what is in the news thus far. The longer this will go on, the trust of the People on the President will erode very quickly. It is imperative to submit the BBL with out changes in juxtaposition with the BBL, for Congress to debate and review.