• First of Two Parts

    Deception and dishonesty of Aquino’s ‘Peace Council’

    31

    It is so sad that it has come to this. In his desperation to steamroller his “BBL,”* President Benigno S. Aquino has corralled distinguished members of our society to falsely portray broad citizen support for it.

    Aquino on March 27 called for the establishment of a “Citizens’ Peace Council,” which he said “will gather other responsible and respected leaders to spearhead a National Peace Summit to deliberate on and discuss the BBL. They will dissect the proposed law in a calm and reasonable manner that will not incite anger and hopelessness.”

    Council or coterie: Extreme left, Jaime Zobel, inset above him is economist Habito, who represented him, even in the presentation to Congress; “Maranao Princess” Usman; Cory’s balae Dee, and former chief justice Davide. Inset at right is Fr. Joel Tabora, who represented Cardinal Tagle, who was never photographed with the Council.

    Council or coterie: Extreme left, Jaime Zobel, inset above him is economist Habito, who represented him, even in the presentation to Congress; “Maranao Princess” Usman; Cory’s “balae” Dee, and former chief justice Davide. Inset at right is Fr. Joel Tabora, who represented Cardinal Tagle, who was never photographed with the Council.

    The “distinguished representatives” of the citizenry he appointed were:

    • Former Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr. His son, Cebu Governor Hilario (“Junjun”) Davide III, a pillar of the Liberal Party in central Visayas, requires all the political and financial help from President Aquino for his re-election in 2016 since he will be competing against strong contenders, not only from Vice President Jejomar Binay’s camp but from Cebu’s political clans.
    • Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, considered to be one of President Aquino’s closest supporters in the oligarchy. His joint venture with the Indonesian First Pacific Group controversially got the government to change its original plans made many years ago for a common station for the LRT-1, MRT-3 and MRT-7 railway lines. It was supposed to be located — logically — at the SM North Mall. Instead, this administration ordered that it be located at the Ayala Land-owned Trinoma Mall, whose consumer traffic would consequently exponentially grow with the convenience of having the station there. Henry Sy’s group has sued.
    • Howard Dee, ambassador to the Vatican during the regime of the late President Corazon Aquino and who was her first and favorite “balae.” Her daughter Viel is married to Dee’s son Richard. Dee and his family have been among the biggest registered contributors to Aquino and his allies.
    • Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, who worked for six years in the Vatican’s International Theological Commission. The commission was headed at the time by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who made Tagle Cardinal when he became Pope Benedict XVII.

    I am sorry I cannot use the term “distinguished” for the fifth member of the CPC, Bai Rohaniza Sumndad-Usman, as she is a nobody compared with the other CPC members, although she might be popular among the NGO give-peace-a-chance crowd. She’s good-looking, though, and there is a youtube clip of her walking like a professional model wearing her line of fashion accessories for Muslim women called “Rohaniza’s Hijab and Muslimah Collection.”

    Maranao Princess

    Her website describes her as “a Maranao born into royalty as a Maranao Muslim Princess.” The biggest accomplishment of Usman (“Honey,” as her website says she is called) is the “Teach Peace, Build Peace” NGO, which she founded, although its website doesn’t even say how many members the group has. I’ll be confirming, though, some interesting facts about her claim in her bio-data that she was a “Princeton Global Network Awardee for the World’s Most Accomplished Individuals for 2009-2010.”

    The gall of this President to claim that these people represent us, citizens! By no stretch of the English language can we call this a “council;” it is Aquino’s coterie.

    Somebody should explain to Aquino that we no longer live in a medieval era and are no longer awed by princes of the Church and the oligarchy.

    Not by an in-law of the “saint of democracy,” not by the patriarch of the newest political dynasty in Cebu, not even by a comely Maranao princess.

    I certainly doubt these people’s “wisdom” with regard to the Muslim issue.

    Have these people ever in their entire lives read a serious study, or a book on the history and complexities of the situation of Muslims in Mindanao, the political-economic-cultural labyrinth of the “Moro Problem,” the cases of secession of minorities in modern era, the rise of international jihadism?

    Have these people ever been to the epicenters of the Moro uprisings, witnessed an MILF guerrilla launch a rocket-propelled grenade? I’m not even sure, since she claims she grew up in Saudi Arabia, whether Bai Usman, an Assumptionista, has ever mingled with poor Muslims in Mindanao.

    Does having a high rank in the Catholic Church’s hierarchy, being the scion of a century-old oligarchic clan, or being the father of a son who married Corazon Aquino’s daughter endow one with wisdom in endorsing a bill that could forever change the nation’s future?

    After reading this coterie’s report, which these five people signed, I now doubt very much even their integrity. Why should they affix their signatures on a report I suspect they haven’t even read, and very definitely had little or no inputs in drafting?

    The coterie first convened April 10. According to the report itself, 132 joined the discussions in one or more of the clusters “from 8-17 April before convening for the National Peace Summit on 18 April 2015.” The report was dated April 27, when they presented their findings to a committee on the BBL in Congress. (Note that the report claims discussions started April 8, even as the very first meeting of the CPC, which the media covered, was two days after.)

    The coterie’s work involved discussing the BBL with 132 other participants. It would have required reading the references the report cited: 28 position papers, 24 Supreme Court decisions, four books on international and local laws, and four laws. The group had to deliberate the issues among themselves, wait for somebody’s draft of the 167-page report, discuss how to incorporate the points made by each member of the committee, and finally, read line by line the report and sign it. And all these  took just 13 working days?

    Okay, let’s assume that Cardinal Tagle didn’t honor the Sabbath and worked even on Saturdays and Sundays and Ayala went on a three-week leave from his conglomerate that earns him about P1 million peso a day, that means the coterie produced the report — which bears only their signatures and nobody else’s — in 19 days, including the time for its printing.

    Aquino’s disease

    Aquino must have contaminated the people behind this farce with this illness that makes him think Filipinos are stupid.

    These five “distinguished” members of this coterie are lying through their teeth in claiming responsibility for the report, accomplishing it in record 13 working days.

    Somebody or some office must have written it — most probably the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process — and asked them to sign it. I wish they could be honest and answer these questions: Who wrote the report? Have they even read it?

    How can I not lose respect for this cardinal, this tycoon, this presidential in-law, and this former chief justice, even this Prince of the Church, when they stamp their imprimatur on a report that they did not really write, and support a bill that could lead to more violence and even civil war?

    I suspect that when Davide read parts of the report before the Congress committee, it was the first time he saw the text of the document.

    Tagle and Ayala didn’t bother to attend the only official presentation of the coterie’s report, which was to the Congress committee. There is no photograph, in fact, of Tagle with the “Council.” Was he really a member?

    Cardinal Tagle was, instead, represented, apparently in all of the CPC activities, by Jesuit priest Joel Tabora, president of Ateneo de Davao. I suspect it was Tabora, whom a source claims is the father-confessor and ideologue of Ateneo de Davao alumna Teresita Deles, who attended every single activity of the CPC, even reading it, for Tagle.

    But Tabora has long been a big supporter of the BBL and all the various agreements of this government with the MILF. In one of his articles in his blog (taborasj.wordpress.com) he claims the Mamasapano massacre shouldn’t derail the enactment of the BBL as the raid was undertaken for “thirty pieces of silver.”

    Tabora even had his university publish an anthology of articles involving BBL, all of which sang hosannas to it. He wrote the introduction to the anthology, which in effect claimed that Pope Francis supports the BBL.

    More than that, Tabora is a big Aquino fan and even uses the Bible to exhort his readers to follow this President blindly.

    Obey your leaders

    In his article on Aquino’s second address on the Mamasapano incident, Tabora thrice quoted Hebrew 13:17: “Obey your leaders and defer to them, for they keep watch over you and will have to give an account, that they may fulfill their tasks with joy and not with sorrow.”

    I suspect Tabora had a big part in writing the report: Its main argument why it supports the BBL is a tautology, a favorite trick of Jesuit scholastic thinking.

    What a deception involving a prince of the Church. Aquino tells us and the world Cardinal Tagle is a member of a “Citizens’ Peace Council.” But it is a big Jesuit advocate of the pacts with the MILF and his fan who was really in that Council.

    In Ayala’s case, it was economist and former economic planning secretary (under Ramos) Cielito Habito who represented him. I suspect — since it has been mostly his occupation to write long socio-economic reports for this or that agency — Habito wrote much of the coterie’s report. Habito had been pathetically trying to popularize in his newspaper column his contrived term “Aquinonomics,” which most economists thought ridiculous. For transparency’s sake, I hope Habito discloses his professional fee for representing Ayala.

    “The peace council is not a real citizen’s summit as the poorest of the poor has no representation and voice in the council,” said Christian Monsod, who was listed among the participants in the purported discussions for the coterie’s report.

    Monsod was grossly understating things. Not even the rich and middle-class citizens were really represented.

    Although it did include a few independent personalities, many of the so-called 132 citizens were Aquino supporters and relatives that were the warm bodies for the “Koalisyon ng Mamamayan Para sa Reporma,” which convened last year to supposedly advocate reforms independent of Aquino.

    Of course, we never heard about this group again, as it was quickly exposed as an Aquino farce. (See my column “‘Kompre’ convenor David, a highly paid Aquino official,” August 26, 2014)

    These citizens were supposed to meet, according to Aquino, in a National Peace Summit. For such a very important assembly, there wasn’t a single report in the media on it. The only time we ever heard again of this coterie, this Peace Council, was when they lectured the Congress on its supposed consensus.

    I know our congressmen wouldn’t get fooled that citizens, especially the distinguished ones among them, were supporting the BBL and telling them what to do. They were just masks, and behind them were Aquino and Deles, laughing their hearts out.

    On Monday: The inanities of the CPC report

    * * * *

    Bangsamoro Basic Law. I refuse to use that term “Bangsamoro,” which I will refer to hereon as “BM” in my future columns. As I have explained in several columns, BM is a fiction, a term invented by the Moro National Liberation Front in the 1960s, which even most of the Muslims and non-Muslims in Mindanao do not accept, and much less, embrace.

    To continue to use it is to allow the MILF worldview — that there was once upon a time a Moro nation that was conquered and oppressed by a Christian Luzon — to dominate our discourse. This Administration’s embrace of the term in the bill that it is pushing represents its capitulation to the MILF worldview. I shudder at the very thought that what is now called the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao would be called “BM.”

    BM has been the MNLF’s and MILF’s term for what they still believe is their citizenry, in opposition to Filipino. Those who would be living in that new BM political entity as envisioned by the bill would be called BMs, not Filipinos

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    31 Comments

    1. vagoneto rieles on

      Most Filipinos understand the issues surrounding the BBL and see it as a pointless and dangerous experiment. The issue that is unclear.. one that needs to be addressed.. is that of accountability. President Aquino is indisputably the father and prime-mover of the proposed law; Mesdames Quintos-Deles and Coronel-Ferrer, who acted as the midwives in its birthing.. the active accomplices; and, the party-mates in the Senate and the Congress who favor the law’s passage were its abettors and co-conspiritores. What responsibilities do they carry; and what sanctions are they heir to? These individuals must not be allowed to go ‘scot-free’.. and on their merry way, when the Philippines and the Filipino should end up suffering the consequences of the BBL.

    2. The Citizen Peace Council is just the mouth piece of P-Noy. Former Chief Justice Davide’s son is an LP governor and Mr. Dee is the godfather of P-Noy’s sibling. The rest are biased and P-Noy appointees. The name Citizen Peace Council is a misnomer, it should be called P-Noy-Malaysia Brokers Council whose main objective is to sell out Mindanao to Malaysia.

    3. The peace process is not enough. Right now, MILF supporters and followers are in the firm belief that what they will get is a separate state. There was no serious effort to clarify the BBL to people of Mindanao. All is confused.

    4. Vicente Penetrante on

      BM or whatever name you want, the name will not matter to alias Iqbal.

    5. Roldan Guerrero on

      The BBL should be totally junked and this administration should cease completely in its desire to forcefully insist on its enactment. Let us wait for the next regime to finalize and make a broader study whether there is a real need to create this law. We should act now to deter by all means the futile intentions of this regime and get rid of AQUINO`s STUPIDITY!

    6. Fernando Punzal on

      Indeed, this is tragic. People of known statures affixing their imprimaturs to something that would bring chaos instead of peace in Mindanao. The BBL is not acceptable to all Muslims in Mindanao, much more, with the non-Christians. For the BBL to be acceptable to the people, it must be referred to them in a nationwide referendum. Let the people decide.Results of this exercise would certainly be then wholly acceptable by all.

    7. Scrap the BBL waste of time,only the terrorist MILF will benefit from it.Abolish autonomous regions it is the root of the problem.This peace council are nothing but a moro-moro council.

    8. These are rabid attack dogs of the Yellow Army.They are traitors of the Republic.They should all be thrown out to the China Sea.

      • Nope, that would be cruel. We just put all of them summarily at Panatag Shoal for treason pending determination of guilt.

    9. Braincleaner on

      This people are the most distinguished members of the the most corrupt looters and traitors of Philippine society.

    10. Lord Chimera on

      I can excuse an atheist for taking Bible verses out of context, but I cannot do the same for a priest who ought to know what he is talking about. Tabora is correct in quoting Hebrew 13:17, but he forgot to mention Acts 5:27-29 which basically says that as long as the law of the land does not contradict the law of God, we are bound to obey the law of the land. As soon as the law of the land contradicts God’s command, we are to disobey the law of the land and obey God’s law. Tabora also should study the history of Nazi Germany where soldiers followed an obvious evil leader because of the misunderstood context of Hebrew 13:17.

    11. jesus nazario on

      BM also means something else that need to be hidden behind this acronym instead of expressing its full and odious expanded equivalent.

    12. This is a show business administration full of slogans speeches and form.. No essential ingredient of substance . We cannot even hold on to our existing territory ….one we loose because we do not have the will or capacity to fight China .. The other our leader gives as a gift fo get a Nobel prize …. The height of arrogance , callousness , and stupidity

      • he he he, tama ka hector david. we are losing our territory to china in the west phil sea and now boy sisi is willing to give bm a major portion of mindanao. if i remember correctly, tony lopez of standard made a mathematical analysis of the bm. if i correctly remember it, the bm will be given by boy sisi something like 40% of the total area of the country and annual subsidy of more than P75Billion to the bm whose muslim population is about 4million; thus leaving the 60% land area to the 96Million pilipinos outside of the bm. and the bm residents will not be pilipinos but bm citizens.

    13. This is an execellent column detailing the connections of the council created to push for the passage of the BM. Everything about the BM stinks. Just junk it and all documents signed with the MILF. Enforce the ARMM and make it work. The failure of the ARMM so far is the failure of the president to support it.

    14. “Rent a Cardinal” is a good trade name for Cardinal Tagle’s newly discovered sideline. To make this transparent and legal, maybe he should have this registered with the DTI. He would also need a BIR registered receipt. Congratulations, Cardinal Tagle.

    15. We have May 2 to stay focus with , The tidings which the PAC-May will bring to our nation will be big in the future…For a while the Pac-May fight will give temporary relief from the trauma which the Mamasapano Massacre inflicted on us.
      For a while , the Philippine Flag will be seen raised and seen around the World..that
      even the Muslim warriors of Mindanao would sit in silence and watch the Pac-May
      fight.
      Finally, while the street of Metro Manila are empty from vehicles, former Senator Rene Saguisag will be dancing his tango ang waltz along these streets when everybody celebrate and watch this one glorious day for us Filipinos..
      Let the Pac-May fight on May 2 calebrate us about the BBL challenge; and sing “Lalaban ako para sa Pilipino” after.

    16. The BBL has two direction to follow: 1.) for its’ approval a dismemberment of our country, an anti-assimilation. 2.) for its’ rejection and a long sustained effort towards assimilation of all segments of society, an ideal setup for our dear Luviminda. For the sake of having a country indivisible, we hope a pray that this first direction be abandoned. Let us be patient to have our countrymen assimilate which takes time.

    17. President Noynoy Aquino : “ Butch has been my campaign manager on two occasions already . To show you how creative he is … before , when I was in the opposition and without money , he thought up a way to make me known to the people . What he did was , there was this famous singer – actress who made it possible for me to be in the newspapers for about eight months . I was surprised , because I had
      met this woman only once and Butch Abad made it appear like I attended all her concerts and that we had a thing going . For eight months , that story ran , and I was wondering how a story with nothing to it could run that long . Later I learned that friends of Butch Abad had been sending the woman flowers , which she always
      accepted. And every time flowers were sent , the story about our affair kept going even if nothing really happened.
      “ I said, Butch , you ’ re so good at inventing fiction , you should have
      been a writer” (or a creative accountant!)

      Not an ounce of integrity or decency, and very happy to be complicit in deceit and use people. Not a gentleman and certainly no understanding of the concept of honor.

    18. I tell you all idiots of the yellow army, Malaysia will have the last laugh, if we allow Abnoy to pass this BBL. Malaysia will exploit all the natural resources in the Liguasan Marshes just like they are doing now in Sabah. There will never be peace in Mindanao because the Sultanate of Sulu and the Misuari MNLF faction will continue to assert their rights to the Sabah territory and its opposition to the Bangsamoro Entity even granting that the AFP can wipe-out all the Abu Sayyaf , BIFF, JIM and the NPAs in the near future.

    19. Edgar G. Festin on

      Manila Archbishop Cardinal Tagle signed the Citizens’ Peace Council report which any Catholic SHOULD not sign!
      He described the draft BBL law, with all its unconstitutional provisions and provisions dangerous to the stability pf the Philippine Republic, as “OVERWHELMINGLY ACCEPTABLE!”
      He seems not to have attended a single session of the Council’s meeting, not even the opening one–but nstead had himself represented by Jesuit priest who is well-known to be a loud advocate of the passage of the BBL as drafted by the MILF and has campaigned for its passage for years, even before the MILF finished writing the draft law.
      What kind of dishonest person is this Cardinal Archbishop of Manila? Did he even give any thought to the objections to the BBL by the President of the CBCP, Archbishop Soc Villegas? Didi he ever think of the admonition given by our Holy Father Pope Francis?
      May the Apostolic Nuncio report Archbishop Cardinal Tagle’s anti-Catholic, anti-Philippine Republic and dishonest behavior and statements to the Pope.

      • From what I understand, it was Fr. Tabora who signed in behalf of Cardinal Table.

    20. Pnoy aquino has proved himself to be hypocritical and deceitful in everything. It is in his core character, and demonstrates a lack of conscience and moral fiber.

      It is the price a nation pays for electing a nobody on the basis of emotion.

      “Hypocrisy is a detriment to progress.
      There’s always a hidden agenda”
      Larry Flynt

    21. puebloerrante on

      the greatest flaw of the CAB/BBL is the assumption that the so-called “moros” are a singular faction. which is certainly NOT true. this approach will only lead to further chaos and dissent amongst the different faction operating within the muslim areas of mindanao.

      another false assumption of this aquino administration is the notion that the CAB/BBL is already “too big to fail”. they’ve invested so much time and resource trying to steamroll it while trying to keep it below radar with as minimum media exposure as possible, like a backdoor or under-the-table negotiation where details in the news media barely even touched upon what-the-fvck is really going on behind the scenes.

      at least until the fateful mamasapano massacre which opened their pandora’s box unleashing the sins and hidden agendas of the GRP-MILF “peace” panel for all of the filipinos to see, as well as the re-examination of the jabidah hoax and the involvement of malaysia (mahathir mohammad) in the mindanao insurgency, the involvement of the JSOTF-P (and their remnants) in helping us to quell international terrorists hiding amongst the muslim terror groups, ninoy’s involvement with the establishment of the MNLF and the NPA, ninoy’s debt of gratitude to lucman, and lastly the “peace” council of cronies trying to deceive us with their half-truths.

      the aquino administration seems to be willing to throw everything, including the kitchen sink, into the arena in their desperate ploy to swing public opinion to their favor. yet how can they even begin to accomplish this when deceit-upon-deceit is starting to pile up and noynoy still refuses to take REAL responsibility for the needless death of our soldiers at the hands of a terror group? while the REAL closure for the mamasapano massacre is still forthcoming? how the heck can the aquino administration justify, not just their own lies and inadequacies, but the lies and the treachery of the MILF themselves?

      it is just so deplorable that both the CAB and the BBL almost ran past us, barely beneath our notice. barely even given by the mass media enough mileage and information to the general public for such a tremendous upheaval that affects the entire nation, at least not until now..

    22. Alejo Rosete on

      I BELIEVE YOU AMBASSADOR TIGLAO

      these people (peace council) are not SUPPER HEROES
      They are supper morooooooooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnns

      Cardinal Tagle – did you ever realized that the Pope loves the poor so much?
      Why, council did not even bother to ask or consult them?
      Why on earth the media was not even invited during your deliberations?

      If the Pope will invite you to Vatican and asked you this questions –
      will you invite the press to see how you react and/or answer the Pope?

      Did you open your eyes and read the document before you sign it?
      Or you close your eyes and said, “LORD FORGIVE FOR I HAVE SINNED
      AGAINST THE POOR FILIPINOS” and just sign it?

      Only you Cardinal can explain this to God and to the Filipinos.

      Cardinal Sin is dead – sana buhay pa siya for us

    23. sonny dela cruz on

      Upon reading Mr. Tiglao’s column, I am thinking about the behavior of a person on how a person can be manipulated and be blinded to the reality of the situation just to please someone. Yes, we are talking to please the President of the Philippines, the highest position on the land. I know those people were selected because they are friends but we are talking about the status of the country once you please the president in a wrong direction and at the expense of the Filipinos silence. His term is ending in 2016, why can we right the wrong by delaying this BBL till the next administration to look more carefully for any fault or any violation of the constitution, WHY RUSH IT? why approved it before his term ends and these selected friends agreed without any regards to people’s sentiments. I understand that these selected friends are well to do in life and most of them cannot be bribe, they don’t need money. They don’t need much connection because the term of the president is ending. IS FRIENDSHIP IS MORE IMPORTANT AT THE EXPENSE OF THE FILIPINO PEOPLE AND THE FATE OF THE COUNTRY? Pls. l need your ADVICE.

    24. P.Akialamiro on

      It would be a great relief for readers of this column, like me, to hear the other side of the claims of this columnist. As it is, I tend to believe this Columnist considering the affiliations of the ‘coterie’ members with this president. Primarily, the number of days for the ‘coterie’ to come out with a written report is casts doubt to an actual and honest deliberations, if ever there was. Nonetheless, the report will be just in ‘aid’ of the position of B.S. Aquino. The provisions of the BBL, as mentioned, in my reports, speak for themselves and are inimical to the solidarity of the country and people as expressed in the Philippine Consitution.

    25. Pope Francis supports peace in Mindanao. Pope Francis supports lifting people especially children out of poverty. Pope Francis WARNS the world of violence and ethnic cleansing in the name of a religious sect. Pope Francis was quiet / Pope Francis did not mention House Bill-BabaLA. When in Pilipinas, the pope Kiko did not welcome any photo-ops with Sec Deles or any of OPAPP.