Malacañang apparently has the contrived idea of having Congress pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) by June 10 final day of legislative session, in time for President Noynoy’s signing on June 12, the Independence Day celebration.
We can only hope that the senators won’t sell out after House representatives acquiesced to Noynoy’s dictate to railroad the BBL draft’s approval.
The overwhelming yes-vote for the BBL by the House ad hoc committee came amid allegations of bribery by Malacañang with its massive loot from the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) funds.
There is reason to believe this may happen as it did in the impeachment trial of former chief justice Renato Corona.
Senator Jinggoy Estrada exposed how Noynoy, through Senate President Franklin Drilon, used over a billion pesos DAP funds or “presidential pork barrel” to pay off senators who voted for Corona’s conviction.
House representatives who initiated Corona’s impeachment also allegedly received generous rewards in illegal DAP funds.
It is a shame that these lawmakers now have prostituted the Congress to suit Noynoy’s retarded whims about BBL.
Who doesn’t wish lasting peace for Mindanao?
But, our lawmakers must realize that by allowing themselves to get duped by the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), they compromise not only the security, peace and stability of Mindanao but of the whole country.
It may turn the region into a haven for international terrorists.
The horror and tragedy of the January 25 Mamasapano massacre has dramatized yet again the impunity with which the MILF would perpetrate their reign of terror.
Many residents of Mindanao, both Christians and Muslims, reject Malacañang’s version of the BBL that the House haphazardly passed.
Thus the Congress must address the issues of MILF disarmament and the arrest of hundreds of butchers of the ill-fated 44 policemen of the Special Action Force (SAF).
More importantly, the MILF must disband and pledge allegiance to the nation’s flag.
Agusan folks seek Senate probe
Residents and town officials, as well as environmental advocates of Tubay, Agusan del Norte are asking the Senate to investigate the illegal and excessive mining that has ravaged the environment and aggravated the indigenous community.
It is a long shot but they need all the help they can get.
“Sana po isabatas nila ang pagbabawal sa abusong pagmimina,” one resident of Barangay Alubijid said.
It has surfaced that the erring San Roque Metals, Inc. (SRMI) and its sister companies are all owned by mining businessman Francis Enrico “Eric” Gutierrez, a major donor to Noynoy and Mar Roxas’ campaign funds in the 2010 elections.
Gutierrez has been backed by his business partner and protector Caloocan City House Representative Edgar Erice, who has served as his “godfather” and “Mr. Fixit.”
The fourth-class coastal municipality with a population of just over 20,000 has endured the abusive mining of mineral ore by the SRMI group since 2004.
The Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) investigated SRMI’s operations, which have adversely affected the environment.
The authorities also found that SRMI had for years violated the conditions of their small-scale mining permit, particularly the provision limiting each company’s extraction of nickel ore to 15,000 metric tons annually.
In connection with the case filed by the DENR through the Solicitor General, the Court of Appeals (CA) ruled against SRMI in 2012.
But no sanctions were imposed against the firms which continued its excessive mining operations while the case was brought to the Supreme Court.
In June last year, the high court affirmed the appellate court’s ruling and trashed SRMI’s petition for a reversal.
The residents expressed fear of massive disaster that may possibly result from the erosion, as well as pollution.
Tubay Mayor Fidel Garcia, Jr. also confirmed that Gutierrez’s mining firms have no business permits.
Garcia claimed that the Gutierrez-Erice tandem used the Philippine National Police (PNP) as “goons” to block the enforcement of a closure order he ordered against SRMI mining sites.