• Founding fathers/mothers of Bangsamoro state


    More than the MILF leaders (Mohagher Iqbal and Murad Ebrahim) and more than our addled peace negotiators Teresita Deles and Miriam Ferrer, there are 30 members of Congress who will deserve the title and credit as “the founding fathers/mothers (parents?) of the Bangsamoro state”, if it becomes law.

    These are the13 senators and 17 representatives who are boldly standing as sponsors of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in the 16th Congress.

    It’s fitting that their names should be engraved in stone, so Filipino schoolchildren can easily commit them to memory and transmit their achievement/infamy to posterity.

    In the interest of disclosure, I am listing the 30 in this column:

    Senate sponsors of the BBL
    1. Franklin Drilon, Senate president
    2. Ralph Recto, president pro tempore
    3. Alan Peter Cayetano, majority leader
    4. Vicente Sotto, deputy minority leader
    5. Teofisto Guingona
    6. Nancy Binay,
    7. Joseph Victor Ejercito
    8. Gregorio Honasan,
    9. Loren Legarda
    10. Francis Escudero
    11. Paolo Benigno Aquino 4th,
    12. Juan Edgardo Angara
    13. Pia Cayetano

    House sponsors of the BBL
    1. Feliciano Belmonte, Jr., Speaker
    2. Neptali Gonzalez III , Majority leader
    3. Henedina Abad, Batanes, Batanes
    4. Giorgidi Aggabao, Isabela
    5. Sergio Apostol, Leyte
    6. Roberto Puno, Antipolo city
    7. Pangalian Balindong, Lanao del Sur
    8. Carlos Padilla, Nueva Vizcaya
    9. Mel Senen Sarmiento, Western Samar
    10. Enrique Cojuangco, Tarlac
    11. Mark Leandro Mendoza, Batangas
    12. Eleandro F. Madrona, Romblon
    13. Elpidio Barzaga, Jr., Cavite
    14. Antonio Lagdameo Jr., Davao del Norte
    15. Rolando Andaya, Jr., Camarines Sur
    16. Nicanor Briones, party list
    17. Raymond Democrito Mendoza, party list

    The stances of the 30 could change when the heat is turned on and the debates commence. But these 30 will go down into the records as the original authors, no matter how much the original bill is revised. Like paternity, it is not easy to take back responsibility for a piece of legislation. Your DNA is plastered on the thing.

    Many will make up their own minds
    By order of President Aquino, all the officers of the two chambers agreed to sign on as sponsors of the bill. He thought it was time to collect for all the pork and DAP he has given away.

    Only the House Minority leader, Ronaldo Zamora, escaped conscription. But now, he could be unseated because he enjoys the post only because of the help of Belmonte, who got some members of the majority to vote for him. The real opposition in the chamber, which opposes the BBL, may see an opening here to unseat Zamora.

    In the Senate, members of the minority surprisingly joined the chorus. The real opposition like, Senatores Enrile, Estrada and Revilla, are still in detention.

    Surprisingly, the name of rabid Aquino ally, Sen Antonio Trillanes, is notably missing. He is terrified by what his brothers in the military will think if he is a sponsor.

    When the bill was first transmitted to congress by the President, Senate President Drilon took only two days to determine and conclude that the legislation had broad support in the Senate, which shows that “peace knows no political color.”

    Speaker Belmonte was even more confident about the House voting for the measure, given the power of pork and DAP to persuade.

    Even so, support for the BBL in Congress is far from settled. Many senators and congressmen profess that Belmonte and Drilon should not presume to speak for them. They will make up their own minds on the measure.

    The proposed legislation is certain to undergo thorough scrutiny and debate. The committees leading the BBL hearings – one chaired by Bongbong Marcos in the Senate, and the other by Rufus Rodriguez in the House — have pledged to hear arguments and testimony from both legislative proponents and the public.

    The biggest hurdles
    There are many hurdles that the BBL must pass to (1) clear Congress, and (2) to have a chance in the Supreme Court, where any Bangsamoro law is certain to be challenged.

    These hurdles come in the form of questions:

    1. Why did the Aquino government talk to only the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in its avowed program to settle the secessionist conflict and bring peace and stability to Mindanao? Why were the other Muslim tribal communities excluded from the negotiation?

    Why were Christians and Lumads in Mindanao excluded from the negotiations and discussions, when any agreement reached would surely affect them also?

    2.Can congress pass a law creating a Bangsamoro state, which gives it its own territory out of Philippine territory, its own armed and police forces, and its own parliament and administrative machinery? Can this be done without amending the Constitution first?

    Under President Arroyo, we have already had the sour experience of seeing a peace agreement voided by the High Court because it posited the idea of an ancestral domain for Filipino Muslims within Philippine territory.

    3. Why does the proposed BBL virtually guarantee that the MILF will run the proposed substate? This appears to be the key reason why the other Muslim groups were excluded from the negotiations.

    4. Why does the proposed law call for the dissolution of the already existing Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), which exists because of an express provision of the Constitution and a peace agreement forged in 1996 between the government of P:resident Fidel V. Ramos and the Moro National liberation Front (MNLF)?

    A time for statesmanship
    In tackling these great questions about the BBL, the nation needs from our legislators not just their usual sagacity in looking after themselves. They need to supply a measure of statesmanship, which they have been rarely asked to do.

    Legislators are wary of the term “statesman” and are more comfortable with the more ornery term “politician.”

    As was once memorably said, to call a man a statesman is eulogy; to call him a politician, while disparaging, is more realistic.

    Walter Lippmann has provided the most persuasive characterization of statesmanship on record.

    He wrote in his book, A Preface to Morals:
    ”The chief element in the art of statesmanship under modern conditions is the ability to elucidate the confused and clamorous interests which converge upon the seat of government. It is an ability to penetrate from the naïve self-interest of each group to its permanent and real interest….

    “A statesman’s hold on the people is enduring because he promises nothing which he cannot achieve; he proposes nothing which turns out to be a fake. Sooner or later, the politician, because he deals in unrealities, is found out. He [must then]cease to meddle with the destinies of men.”

    The coming deliberations and debates on the Bangsamoro will separate the politicians from the statesmen; the boys from the men.

    On such issues of great moment, men like Recto, Laurel, Diokno and Manglapus distinguished themselves and made their name during their time.

    Those who did not are deservedly forgotten.

    Citizens should monitor whether their representatives and senators are doing justice to our real and permanent interests as a people and nation.



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    1. Roldan Guerrero on

      Undoubtedly many of the incumbent lawmakers are considered intellectuals most of them are lawyers and academicians who hold bachelors` degree. However what they lack is, they are not principled individuals as the late Recto,Diokno and Manglapus. What matters now is luxurious living, setting aside modesty which results to poverty. Nowadays, being a lawmaker means joining the club of the rich and famous. Philippine politics today is different compared to the early stages of independece, it is comparable to founding a multinational business where ROI is fast, aside from having unlimited profits. Incumbent high profile politicians take bribes and misappropriate funds for personal advantage. Can you tell me any Senator or Congressman who is not a millionaire?

    2. Let’s end all hearings on the BBL. It’s too expensive. The best way to kill the BBL is for both houses to pass it without any revision, and let the SC do the rest. Meanwhile, let’s prepare for the worst. Mabuti sana kung ang sisingilin lang ng MILF ay si PNoy at ang GPH,

    3. Hector David on

      And now much money is changing g hands .. If more than a billion is given to convict Corona ….this is will cost us a minimum m 100B to nixing what he gives them plus th irreversable loss in territory and natural resources resources with tens of not u nd reds of trillions …. All for consideration of the Nobel Peace Priz which will never happen

    4. There is no war in Mindanao, the kind that we have been made to believe. The war is between and among Muslim leaders who for decades have failed to come to a consensus on how they wish to govern themselves within the context of the larger Filipino nation. The government is often blamed for their inability to agree among themselves. Government’s fault on the other hand is its continuous insistence and belief that the Muslims can be together in one regional political subdivision. We have seen it in the past and there is no basis in history for this irrational insistence. ARMM was conceived because of this and now the Bangsamoro. Truth is Tausugs and its affiliate groups will never be comfortable with Maguindanaoans and Maguindanaoans with Maranaos and Maranaos with Tausugs. They will never be happy together with one group above the others and so on. The failure with the ARMM is not with the idea of extending autonomy but the very idea that they can collectively exercise the authority of an autonomous arrangement. Passing the BBL is just a waste of time and resources, even assuming that this does have legal, constitutional and moral infirmities. Give full autonomy to each of the individual Muslim groups within the context of the Philippine Constitution. They will certainly be happy and appreciative of this kind of arrangement. NO TO BBL!

      • I’m all for your premises, except the conclusion. The solution is not segregation which should be provincial based not regional. Integrated m municipalities should remain so.

    5. Indeed well said. Yes, those 4 questions enumerated above by Mr. Makabenta are legitimate and must be forced to by the other legislators not listed as sponsors. What is crucial is in the senate, wherein 13 senators, or above majority, are pledging as sponsors. I cannot imagine Congress, who are supposedly populated with mostly more sane individuals than Aquino cannot discern these blatant deficiencies enumerated above. By dealing only with a marginal moro group in peace negotiations in Mindanao is a sure fire recipe for failure. And of course, Aquino cannot discern this since he is out of reality.

    6. vagoneto rieles on

      The BBL locomotive is back on greased rails. For a while, right after Mamasapano, one would have thought that its wheels had come off; but the country had had no such luck. The tunnel vision of the President and his ‘peace ladies’; their recklessness and obstinacy; and, the ‘like-mindedness’ , (or was it a generously replenished DAP?), of the Senate’s and the House’s leadership, have put it back on track. Where do these ladies and gentlemen get their brazenness and seeming contempt for their country? This is puzzling.Their self-assurance deriving from the strangle-hold that a ‘ruling class’ has on their positions might be a big part of the answer; and, even as it might sound like a ‘cop-out’, the long shadow of our feudal past could be the other component of the answer.
      It seems clear that only the Filipino, united as one, and with one long and strident voice , could stop this ‘LOCOmotive’ dead on its tracks.

    7. jose b. taganahan on

      Base on newspaper accounts, Senators Alan Cayetano and JV Ejercito had already withdrawn their sponsorships of the proposed BBL.

    8. Nawala na nga sa atin ang Sabah , gusto nyo pang ibigay ang Mindanao. Ano ba kayo. Hindi nyo ba alam na Malaysia ang may kagagawan ng lahat ng gulo sa Mindanao dahil sa Sabah issue. Lets get out of Asean and cut off diplomatic ties with malaysia. strengthen our economy and armed forces. Let us build atomic bombs to warn other countries that we mean business.

    9. Just the idea of handing over money and power to an armed gang is mind boggleing. Kill all agreements with the MILF.

      • There are no agreement with the milf. The FAB and CAB on which the BBL was based is illegal The BBL is nothing but a proposal.

    10. Bert O. Romero on

      Well said. It is also worth noting that of the Manificent 30, only one native of Mindanao, Congressman Balindong, is a sponsor. Where are the other Muslim legislators or legislators coming from Mindanao? The absence of Senator Pimentel is of course understandable. An incurably opportunistic politician – look at his sponsorship for tax exemption for his fellow legislator, Congressman Paquiao – he interchangeably claims being a Manilan or Mindanaoan as the circumstances dictate. Remember, one of the seven sins according to Mahatma Gandhi – politics without principle?

    11. Those politicians cohorts of Aquino mentioned above and the corrupt cabinet secretaries like Abad, Alcala, Soliman and Abaya ay mga salot sa bayan. Let’s not vote them to public office again! Ibasura ang BBL! Yan ay para lang sa legacy ni Noynoy at ng mga kaibigan niyang murderers na mga rebelde. The high GDP rate due to consumer economics system and OFW remittance makes Aquino proud and happy but not to the millions of our neglected farmers, soldiers, teachers and ordinary workers. Noynoy resign now!

    12. Ruben V. Calip on

      The MILF, the treasonous Aquno regime and its lapdogs in Congress shuld realze that negotiations for an eduring peace agreement for Musl;ims in Mindanao shuld go back square one. All stajeholders have to be included in the negotiations–the MNLF of Nur Misuari, the MILF including the renegade MNLF people who have joined the MILF, the SDultanates especially the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo (including the many claimants to being the SDulyan of Sulu), the various Lumad groups in the various provinces, the Christians governors and mayors of Mindanao, representatives of the mainstream churches and several others. The negotiations should be transparent and not the secretive and treasonous meetings that Aquino, Deles and Coronel-Ferrer have been holding.
      My opinion is that two new autonomous regions for Filipino Muslims should be created after the proposal has been approved by a nationwide plebiscite amending the Constitution– one for Basilan, Tawi-Tawi, Sulu and Sabah and another for Maguindanao-Maranao.

    13. These people are financed by powerful muslim group same modus operandi
      as the the al qaeda . al shabab, isis fundamentalist,hamas group. Their mandate is to inflict terror to the society.

    14. war pa rin kahit ma approved ung bangsamoro at BBL kasi mga terrorista ang mga ito eh mga kampon ni satanas…

      • “filipinos” is a substitution word for “indios” when spanish colonizers named this country Philippines in honor of their King – king philips II. to them “filipinos” or “indios” have the same meaning – SLAVES.

    15. P, Akialamiro on

      It’s really surprising to find out that many in Congress support the BBL despite its flaws particularly the ceding of territory and lessening the powers of the national government as stated in the existing Philippine Constitution. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, could this be the effect of PDAP/DAP, or the fear of being investigated as in the case of opposition legislators? Right on, Duterte!

    16. Gustong tawagin mothers teresita deles at ferrer ang mga ito,parang santa teresa!
      Hurdle 1.congress parang bayad kay hudas ang 30 pesetas!passed yan!
      Hurdle 2.supreme court,tigas titi lang ang mga ito!lumalambot kapag tinatakot na ididemanda sila ni Aquino ng corruption!malamang passed din!
      Tanong bakit di isinama ni Aquino ang ibang lahi,alam niya kayang takutin ng MILF ang lahat na ito!
      Higit sa lahat ang tingin ni Aquino sa mga ito ay walang kuwenta at kayang kaya ng mga mayor at governor na kontrolin ang mga ito, iba na ang may DAP!!lagi busog!saan ka pa!
      Inihahanda na nila ang cha-cha kapag na kapasa ito!prime minister si Aquino!-
      Masyadong malalim kung mag move ang adviser ni Aquino,pang grandmaster sa chess!!
      Kahit saan pumunta ang taong bayan! Checkmate!!

    17.  President Aquino and peace negotiators, Deles and Ferrer, should be charged with TREASON for promoting the dismemberment of the Philippine territory. There must be other peaceful ways to seek true, long-lasting PEACE in Mindanao without sacrificing the INTEGRITY of our country. BBL IS NOT THE ANSWER.  BBL IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL…NO to BBL!   ONE COUNTRY…ONE CONSTITUTION…ONE GOVERNMENT.

    18. The Philippines MUST NEVER CEDE a part of the Philippines archipelago to any soveirgnty or purporting to be dovereign like SOME Muslims in Mindanao. Mindanao is alwas an intrinsic part of the Philippines, as the lost territory of Sabah.

      PNoy and cohorts are traitors and acting treasonably. Lets us not divide the Philippines apart. PNoy is a psychopath and the others sycopath.

      Junk BBL.

    19. I hope Manila Times will list the Senators and Congressmens that will agree on this law. We will remember them on 2016 :)