• Charter framers endorse BBL


    FOURTEEN of the 18 surviving framers of the 1987 Constitution have expressed full support for the creation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region and the approval of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

    In their first formal meeting 29 years since the drafting of the Charter, the surviving members of the 1986 Constitutional Commission forged a consensus endorsing the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) and the BBL.

    “We believe that a new organic law is necessary to fulfil the vision and spirit that guided the constitutional provisions on autonomous regions,” they said in a statement on Monday.

    Those who signed were Felicitas Aquino-Arroyo, Adolfo Azcuna, Teodoro Bacani, Joaquin Bernas, Florangel Rosario Braid, Hilario Davide Jr., Edmundo Garcia, Jose Luis Martin Gascon, Christian Monsod, Ricardo Romulo, Rene Sarmiento, Jaime Tadeo, Wilfrido Villacorta and Bernardo Villegas.

    “We were aware in 1986 that we were imperfect instruments of the sovereign will of our people. But however imperfect our perceptions then or our fading memories today, recurring questions on the ‘constitutionality’ of the CAB and of the proposed BBL lead us to offer our insights,” the constitutionalists said.

    They explained that the core principle of the 1987 Constitution in mandating a special status for the autonomous regions is the human development of the people of Muslim Mindanao and the Cordilleras in Northern Luzon.

    “Bangsamoro is about the development of people, not about the constitutionality of words,” the Charter framers said, adding that “social justice that calls for genuine social change is the central theme of the 1987 Constitution.”

    They cautioned that an interpretation of any relevant provision of the Constitution that results in war and abject poverty would be contrary to its intention.

    The framers said the larger context of the CAB and the proposed BBL is “our failure to effectively address the longest running insurgency and the development of our peoples, especially those of Muslim Mindanao.”

    According to the constitutionalists, creation of a Bangsamoro Autonomous Region can close the centuries-old gap between law and justice.

    “We are on the cusp of a historic opportunity to make it happen,” they noted, saying negotiations on a Bangsamoro peace agreement have dragged on for 17 years.

    The Charter framers pointed out that the government’s efforts to bring the peace process to fruition have earned the trust of Muslims.

    Commending the government and the peace negotiators, they said the efforts and sincerity of both panels are demonstrated by the broad consultations that were conducted.

    The framers cited the explicit requirement in the BBL that the new organic law should be in conformance with the Constitution, and that the Bangsamoro territory shall remain part of the Philippines.

    “The challenge of the BBL presents to us another chance at national incandescence.

    It is within our reach. Let us set aside partisan politics and stop the urge to exhibit our ability to find nuances of legalism that can delay, or worse, derail the process, feeding on the cynicism and playing on the fears in the national psyche that are more reflex reaction than reasoned response,” the constitutionalists said.

    Malacañang has urged Congress to pass the BBL before the election fever heats up this year.

    The proposed law seeks to create a new autonomous entity that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.


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    1. The Tripoli Agreement of 1976 between the government of the Philippines and the Moro National Liberation Front is an International Agreement which must by all means be fulfilled , Pacta Sunct Servanda. What’s the Philippine government doing now?

    2. vagoneto rieles on

      From the ‘Tenejeros Constitutional Convention’ in 1897 to the ‘Cory-sponsored’ Constitutional Commission of 1986, there have been five constitutions. Of these, only that produced by the Constitutional Convention of 1934, which was presided by Claro M. Recto, was the best thought out, the strongest and the only one that made sense. It served the country well during the best of times, (the 1950s-1960s) and during the worst of times, (the1940s). It was only in the Marcos era, when a 1971 constitutional convention was called, to charter a new constitution to serve through the ‘martial-law-years’ (and Marcos’ intentions..of course), that this frenzy of charter changes started and, which goes on up ’til now.
      It might do us a lot of good if the 1986 Constitutional Commission ‘alumni’ could visit all the ‘other constitutions’ and check whether any of these documents have recommended fencing off an area of any size for any political or religious group to call their territory. They might also explain where the authority of this government comes from that they could cordon off 15% of Philippine patrimony, to give as ‘territory’ to Bangsamoro.
      ‘Bangsa’, not surprisingly, means ‘nation’ or ‘country’ in Bahasa Malaysia. This term was institutionalized during Mahathir ibn Mohammad’s term as Prime Minister of Malaysia in the 1980s..a time of rabid nationalism in that country. Was it not the Malaysians who ‘refereed’ the BBL negotiations? Was it not in Malaysia where the final BBL draft was signed? Was it not Malaysia that benefited in our abandonment of the Sultan of Sulu’s claim over North Borneo? What are we thinking?

    3. sonny dela cruz on

      I believe those framers lost their minds as they did in the 1987 Constitution. You can’t give them the BBL unless the Philippines is under a Federal system of government government with a Federal constitution. You cannot create BBL under the present Unicameral system of government unless you are giving them independence from the Philippines. Why only in Mindanao regions and not in the Cordilleras to give them independence too.

    4. Let not those appointees of Cory rule the day…the BBL law is full of holes and one sided. There is only one Republic of the Philippines and let us not forget it. GOD BLESS THE PHILIPPINES.

    5. According to the article, the 1986 framers said “not about constitutionality of word” and the constitution is about social justice when discussing this topic but going to the Party List in allowing the major political parties to participate without organizing along sectoral lines and without coming from the marginalized sector the same framers to the exception of some said its not just about social justice but staying true to the words of the Constitution.

      And so what makes BBL different from ARMM? isn’t it a violation of the rights of other Muslim minorities in Mindanao to hand them over under the control and leadership of MILF? The Constitution’s spirit is about inclusive autonomy not selective power transfer.

    6. The 1987 constitution framers owed their loyalty to Cory and for some degree to PNoy, being her son. Understandably, leaving behind an imperfect output for a very important document is not surprising. Their focus before was to please the oligarchs and big business who hijacked the people’s uprising against Marcos. Now they are not ashamed to accept their mediocrity by supporting PNoy and his BBL?

    7. MNLF=ARMM,MILF=Bangsamoro,Bangsamoro will be kicking out ARMM if the morons in the government approve it.MNLF got doublecross,no autonomous regions in the world ever achieve permanent peace there is always trouble.All those people who recieve the novel peace prize all fails there is no peace.

    8. The appointees of Cory support Pnoy. That is no surprise. But they did say, and I quote the article, “The framers cited the explicit requirement in the BBL that the new organic law should be in conformance with the Constitution, and that the Bangsamoro territory shall remain part of the Philippines.”