THE Consultative Committee (ConCom) tasked to review the 1987 Constitution has asked the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) to come up with another draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) that would suit a federal form of government.
Retired Chief Justice Reynato Puno, ConCom chairman, made the proposal to the BTC when the possibility of ratifying a new Charter ahead of the BBL cropped up.
The BTC was invited by the ConCom to give a presentation about the necessity to pass the BBL.
BTC Chairman Ghazali Jaafar reiterated the need to pass the BBL that would create a Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BAR) to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
“The Bangsamoro government is the answer to the legitimate demand of Moro people to have a government of their own, not separate from the Republic of the Philippines,” he said.
“It is not an Islamic government. It is a democratic government. So now we believe this is the proper time for the Philippine government to settle this 50 years of war in Mindanao,” Jaafar said.
He added: “And the most civilized and the most peaceful way of resolving this problem is through the passage of the BBL into law by the Congress of the Philippines.”
“And if this law is passed and is enacted into law by the Congress of the Philippines we can take care of ourselves,” Jaafar said.
Puno, however, asked Jaafar if the BTC would submit “the same BBL or redesign the BBL draft” assuming a federal form of government would be established ahead of the ratification of the BBL.
Jaafar said: “I think we are in a dilemma.”
Asked later in an interview with media on his reaction to Puno’s proposal, Jaafar said, “Kaya namin gawin ‘yun (We can do that).”
Pressed on whether the BTC has still more time to make another draft, Jaafar said: “We are now focused on the BBL draft that we have finished. It is now with the Senate and the House (of Representatives).”
“We have been very patient for many, many, many years. But you know there is an end to everything. And then we keep to ourselves the end, when is the end,” he said.
Asked whether he was making a threat, Jaafar said, “No. It’s not. But it’s reality. The only thing that has no end is God. That’s reality.”
“As of the moment we’re focused on what we believe [would be]the most viable, peaceful, and civilized way of solving the issue, the peace process. We reached this far. We might as well finish it,” he said.
Jaafar said he saw no conflict if the move to shift to a federal government would push through. “We can enter as one state.”
ConCom member Randolf Parcasio said while the Senate and House were deliberating on the BBL, the body was “still getting prepared for all possible scenarios.”
“Number one scenario is that Congress and the Senate might really pass a BBL. If that happens, we are still quite optimistic that it will reach ratification stage,” he said.
“But if it indeed reaches ratification, what would be the formulation of the draft Constitution? So, we are preparing for a ‘No BBL’ and with ‘a BBL’ scenario,” Parcasio said.
BTC member Mohagher Iqbal said: “We have already submitted BBL to Congress. It is now in the hands of Congress on how to do it although we are expecting that Congress would make some amendments to improve the BBL and that would not dilute the BBL. That is our hope.”