Editorial

Comforting words about BBL

FILIPINOS should insist that any law passed by Congress giving the MILF the mini-constitution for their desired Bangsamoro autonomous region or substate must clearly comply with our Constitution.

There have been many reasons to warn our lawmakers that they should ignore BS Aquino’s pleas for them to pass the BBL as soon as possible and to be lenient in their review of the draft BBL that he had certified for priority passage and personally submitted to Congress. His appeal has been for congressmen and senators to close their eyes to the provisions of the BBL that are unconstitutional and are in conflict with existing laws of our Republic.

The PCOS-machine-created president’s words published by the Philippine Star on February 18 are, however, comforting. The report by Delon Porcalla says, “President Aquno will accept any version of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) that Congress will come up with despite a veiled threat from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) that it should be the original version or nothing.”

That report does not quote BS Aquino himself, though. Only Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. was quoted as saying that “the executive branch acknowledges the power and role of the Senate and the House of Representatives in crafting laws, especially the proposed law that will create the Bangsamoro autonomous region in Mindanao.” And also, “We understand that the legislative process involves the process of review, the process of proposing amendments, which is part of the dynamics of political process in creating any law.”

And Coloma is reported to have “reminded the MILF and the government peace panels that there are other stakeholders in the peace process.”

This is marvelous, considering that BS Aquino has been earlier quoted to have said “BBL or nothing.”

Assurances from MILF side
Another comforting news came out in the Mindanao Inquirer on Tuesday, under the headline “MILF willing to wait, won’t wage war if BBL is delayed, revised.”

Datelined Cagayan de Oro City, the report says “The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has maintained that it would not wage another war in case the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) fails to pass or gets revised by Congress.

“ ‘Robert Alonto, deputy chair of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, told a recent forum here that the MILF would continue to negotiate with the government but would defend itself if war was waged against it.

“ ‘The MILF does not have the intention to go back to war unless we have to defend ourselves, [from attacking government military units],’ Alonto said.”

We are not urging our readers and the whole Filipino people to rejoice, though. One, because these assurances were spoken by Alonto and not MILF Central Committee Chairman Al-Haj Murad Ebrahim. Two, because even if the assurances came from Chairman Murad, we should still worry somehow. That’s because our PCOS-produced president BS Aquino and Chairman Murad have both been known to speak from both side of their mouths.

What we truly find comforting is that in the Senate has a patriot in Sen. Francis Escudero, who despite being known to be a loyal friend to BS Aquino, has called on his fellow lawmakers to do their duty of making sure that the BBL is amended so that it complies with the Constitution and does not empower the officials of the proposed Bangsamoro region to trash–or even just ignore–the existing laws of our Republic.

We also remind congressmen and senators that aside from purging the original MILF-Palace BBL draft of unconstitutional and anti-Philippine Republic provisions, they must also add a clear statement that the Philippine Congress rejects the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro or CAB (which the Philippine government and MILF panels signed) because it contains many statements and provisions that mock the history and sovereignty of the Philippine Republic and lay the premise for the future separation from the Philippines of the Bangsamoro.