Bangsamoro law must wait and earn consent

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First, we need a clarification from the Aquino administration on a key point of law and policy.

When presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda officially speaks, are we supposed to believe that he is speaking for the President, that everything he says is fully sanctioned by the President?

We believe this matter needs clarification because, strictly speaking, the position of the presidential spokesman did not exist in our presidential system, until this peculiar presidency of Benigno BS Aquino 3rd.

Besides Lacierda, the President also has communications secretary Sonny Coloma, who issues countless statements using the pronoun “we”, as though he were speaking for himself and the President.


A year ago, Aquino also had a strategic messaging secretary in the person of Ricky Carandang. Then he strategically disappeared when President Aquino ran into a horde of problems, and has not been heard from since.

In the US presidential system, there is no position for a presidential spokesman. President Obama, who is an able public speaker and quite adept at obfuscation, would never allow such a creature to exist. What the White House has are two members of the staff who deal with communications and the media: the press secretary and the communications director. They each have distinct responsibilities.

The US tradition is for the press secretary and communications director to provide deep background briefings on the actions and policies of the President. They are not quoted as speaking for the President, only as sources close to the President.

We deal with this subject today, in our editorial, because of late, Mr. Lacierda has been issuing major statements that the public and the media are supposed to regard as coming from President Aquino.

Two of these statements are:
1. First, President Aquino will never apologize to the nation and to the widows and families of the slain 44 SAF commandos for what happened in Mamasapano.

2. Second, Lacierda declared that the Bangsamoro Basic Law cannot wait until the next presidential administration. It’s either we do this during Aquino’s term or never.

We believe Lacierda’s statement that the Bangsamoro law cannot wait until the next administration requires immediate and substantive response.

In fine, what he said in his briefing of the media last Monday, was this: The Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) should be passed within President Aquino’s term, despite doubts raised about the measure following the January 25 Mamasapano Massacre.

He said: “We do not see ourselves looking at the BBL being passed by the next administration. This is an important piece of legislation.”

Lacierda also said the draft BBL is “bigger than the Mamasapano incident.”

And then he added this shocker: That the best way to honor the 44 commandos killed in Mamasapano, is for Congress to pass the BBL.”

“We regret the loss of our police commandos… We didn’t labor in vain here. Peace panels did not labor in vain. The SAF commandos did not die in vain as well.”

Response to this statement from members of Congress has been sporadic and scattered.

In a statement that surprised many, Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th, a key ally of President Aquino, declared that the BBL could wait until the next administration for as long as the ceasefire and the peace talks are still in place. He did not rule out the possibility that his enemy, Vice-President Jejomar Binay, could be the next President.

Trillanes vowed that the Senate would not pass the BBL in its present form, which would create a monster of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) with its own army and police force, and would receive P100 billion annually in government funds from the budget.

Trillanes pointed out that since trust has been lost between the MILF and the government after the Mamasapano Massacre, the Aquino administration should not insist on its timeline, especially now that emotions are high.

For his part, Senator Sergio Osmeña 3rd asked President Aquino to apologize for the Mamasapano fiasco since he committed grave violations in (1) allowing suspended PNP Director General Alan Purisima to direct the Mamasapano operation; and (2) in bypassing Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina.

Similar sentiments have been expressed at the House of Representatives.

Passage of the Bangsamoro Law must wait.

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11 Comments

  1. Aria Sanchez on

    Ang dapat nating marinig na magsorry ay sina Napenas at Purisima tungkol sa Mamasapano dahil sila naman ang totoong may kasalanan nito

  2. Vicente Bastro on

    Bakit pinipilit nila humingi ng sorry si PNoy sa Mamasapano clash.Dinidiktahan nila ang pangulo sa gagawin kahit hindi naman niya kasalanan

  3. Hindi kailangan magsorry ni President Aquino. Hindi naman siya ang may kasalanan sa pagkamatay ng SAF 44. Sina Napenas at Purisima ang pumalpak

  4. Crisostomo Ibarra on

    Red Flags on Malacanang’s BBL propaganda:

    1. “If your against the BBL, your against peace”.

    – This is just plain harassment from Malacanang. This method demonize the lawmakers or group of people who question’s the validity of the BBL. .

    2. “If BBL fails, there will be war” – Scare tactic.
    – Why are they employing scare tactic? Who are they brain washing? We have this issue in Mindanao as far as I can remember. Who are they trying to fool? The Conflict in Mindanao is due to certain interest groups who seeks to take advantage of the situation for their selfish cause.

    To our congressmen and senators, BBL should be scrutinize very carefully!!! I cannot emphasize enough ergo scrutinize it, Like you are guarding your daughter’s virginity.

    Don’t worry about the deadline, there is no deadline for peace.

  5. From the looks of it, tribal muslims still fight each other for spoils just like the old times when they fight looking for slaves. Geographically speaking ARMM should be divided into two, one for the Sabah, Sulu, Tawitawi, Basilan area of the MNLF Tausugs,and the other one in Central Mindanao of the MILF Maranao. By the way whatever hapenned to the peace loving Badjaos, who continue to scattered around Luzon and Visayas to avoid war. Muslims in Metro Manila

  6. Vicente Penetrante on

    As Mr. R.D.Tiglao said, “There is no ‘Bangsamoro,’ never was.” And all responses agree with him.
    BBL must not be passed during or after this administration. After the 8th century, no Caliphate government had ever succeeded. Islamic forces cannot agree among themselves how to rule, that is why there is chaotic war in Iraq, Syria and other Muslim countries. Rebellious Muslim groups will continue to spring up in Mindanao. There can only be peace if the citizens want it, like in People Power.

  7. A normal person would believe that presidential spokesman would be speaking for the president. Maybe Aquino has a fear of speaking in public or in private. He has already shown us why he should not talk in public. He should also have a presidential thinking man and a presidential decision making man.

  8. What a stupid government we have! Maraming issues related to the final peace in Mindanao na hindi pa nereresolba. No. 1 : Misuari MILF factions na up to now gusto ng i-hiwalay ang Mindanao sa Pilipinas thru peaceful means daw. No. 2 : Decades of ambushes and war skirmishes with NPAs, Abu Sayyafs, BIFFs and some private armies. No. 3 : Justice not yet served to the victims of Mamasapano tragedy. No. 4 : Why is Malaysia interfering in our peace negotiations with the MILF? Is it because Aquino is abandoning claim to Sabah? Or Malaysia is interested in the vast natural resources of the MILF controlled province? No. 5 : How can we pass a BBL with so many unconstitutional provisions as explained by ex justice Mendoza?

  9. Every time Lacierda announces something to the media, he should be asked if he is speaking for — or has cleared his statement with — Benigno Aquino 3rd (pronounced “The Turd”). The media people should also remind Lacierda that, except for the royalty, only a person infested with tapeworms uses the plural “we” when referring to himself.

  10. Willie Enriquez on

    The Government should never allow the passage of the BBL until a fair hearing with the MNLF party are included into consideration. Yes, Ferrer was right the Peace in Mindanao and Sulu region are not guaranteed at all. Then, Why waste the time passing the law when it is clearly not beneficial to all parties and hence the uncertainty of the BBL is clouded as the recent bloodshed that cost the lives of the SAF members in the Province of Maguindanao. And the Congress should be aware the stake holders in the current BBL drafting are favorably for the Maguidanon, Maranao, Yakan and Samal Bangningi tribe of Mindanao and Sulu. While the Tausug Tribe was set aside. And merely represented by Politicians who a strong affinity to the current Adminitration. While their support for the BBL is a noble cause a large majority of the Tausug Tribe felt neglected. Muchmore more the Aquino Adminitration is playing hard with the Original Founder of the Rebellion in Mindanao and Sulu. Which is the MNLF.The MILF only supported the Tausugs. And Tausugs are also all over the Maguindanao Provinces. As the MILF still regarded the sacrifices of their Sulug Brothers in their Campaign for Justice during the atrocities against them by the Marcos Regime. After the Martial Laws most of the places in Mindanao and Sulu was declared a No Mans Land. With the initiatives of the Former President Cory Aquino and the Defense Secretary Fidel Ramos. The First Consultative Conference was made possible at Sumisip,Basilan Province. Between the Government Emissaries and the MNLF founder Prof. Nuruladji Misuari. Withness by Butch Aquino and some white reporters. After the Chairmanship by Misuari in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. Their were several intances the Government tried to destroy those hope for peaceful settlement in Mindanao and Sulu. With the Estrada Adminstration to the current Aquino Administration. Turning a blind eyes from the advises of his expert in Mindanao and Sulu. The BIFF is just a mere faction compared to the Experiences combatant of the former MNLF. But, Even the smaller BIFF won’t give peace a chance. While the MNLF tried to work out with different Adminitrations and ended hopeless for the peaceful solution to Sulu and Mindanao. We hope some Senators and Congressmen will try to see what went wrong with the MNLF. Or the Peace will stand a chance without the MNLF on the peacepact solution. While the Government maybe dealing with the mere MNLF factions. But, the Original ones are still existing that the Government doesn’t want to work with for any reasons. We hope there will be a lasting peace in the region after the passing of the BBL and to those Muslim in Mindanao and Sulu should never feel down with or without the passing of the BBL. And Hope whenever the passage of the BBL there won’t be a division among the Muslim tribes of Mindanao and Sulu. May Peace reign Upon All Filipinos no matter what their Religion are in Mindanao and Sulu.

  11. P, Akialamiro on

    We have a sitting president who is very critical of the past regime, but he is acting like one; he wants things done his way, despite glaring ‘flaws’ in the BBL. There seems to be no one advising him, not even allies in Congress. Must be plain “stubbornness”. or the effect of the PDAF-DAP?