• Goodbye, farewell, and amen, BBL


    I went to the Batasan last Tuesday for a meeting and discussion with a leading member of our House of Representatives. While in the premises, I was enticed to attend the farewell news conference of the House Independent Minority Bloc, some of whose members and leaders happen to be my friends and comrades in past undertakings. I assented to the suggestion, half-thinking that it might produce some useful information and ideas for this column.

    Media conference turned into a wake
    To my surprise, the news conference turned out to be a wake. And it was an unusual wake. The assembled legislators and the media were there not to mourn or eulogize, but to perform a post-mortem.

    The dead body was the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), whose demise had been announced a day earlier by the House of Representatives, the Philippine Senate, and Malacañang Palace.

    At the media conference, three minority bloc leaders – Leyte congressman Martin Romualdez, Buhay party-list representative Lito Atienza, and Abakada party-list representative Jonathan de la Cruz — took turns in performing last rites and post-mortems on the failed legislation.

    They related how they, along with other opposition leaders, fought the House leadership tooth- and- nail to thwart the scheme to railroad the BBL through the House. They analyzed why the initiative totally and utterly failed – and why last-minute procedures to save the patient were of no avail.

    The members of the media focused their questions on the basic and fatal imperfections of the BBL as legislation. They sought answers on why the House leadership, with money to burn, failed to implement President Aquino’s instructions to pass the BBL as a top priority.

    The discourse was so lively, I joined in by throwing in a question.

    I asked the House Minority Bloc, if after prolonged debate and contention over the BBL — the bloc had become comfortable with using the term and name, Bangsamoro. I said that there are many who believe that the name Bangsamoro is itself a liability for the ambitious proposal. Bangsamoro means “Moro nation”– it advertises and rubs our noses on the objective of establishing a Moro state in Philippine territory and within our Philippine Republic. By this measure, Bangsasmoro has a public relations problem as big as the Islamic Caliphate.

    De la Cruz replied that in the unfinished debates on the BBL in the House, their bloc had placed on record their reservations about the name, as an integral part of their opposition to the BBL.

    What really killed BBL in the House was something as banal as the fact that the chamber’s leadership could never seem to produce a quorum to tackle this momentous issue. Even the dirty stratagem of manufacturing a quorum through the device of listing as present representatives who were not present in the session hall (“the moving present,” which I discussed in an earlier column) did not work. The simple and intractable fact was that the BBL repelled many House members, as though it was leprosy.

    In the Senate, the fate of BBL was sealed by the stern opposition of 17 senators to the original bill, particularly Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr, who led the fight against the BBL, and moved to write a substitute bill.

    Mamasapano – Immediate cause of death
    The immediate cause of death of the BBL, proponents and opponents alike are convinced, was the massacre of the 44 Social Action Force (SAF) commandos in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25, 2015.

    Senate President Franklin Drilon remarked sentimentally that there was a 45th casualty in Mamasapano, and it was the BBL. Actually, there were some 20 other non-SAF casualties, some members of the MILF and civilians.

    As a pet initiative of President Aquino, to which he had attached hopes of landing the Nobel Peace prize and on which he had spent P40 billion of taxpayer’s money in promoting, Malacañang announced its acceptance of the impossibility of passing the BBL in the 16th Congress as though it were announcing a death in the family.

    Aquino immediately instructed his secretary of the peace process, Teresita Quintos-Deles, to work on effecting a smooth transfer of the initiative to the next Congress and the next administration.

    This may effectively extend the appointments of Deles and chief peace negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer to Aquino’s very last day in office. But for all intents and purposes, the once dreaded Deles-Ferrer combo have officially outlived their welcome.

    One peace negotiator who will remain in public life even after Aquino is gone, is supreme court associate justice Marvic Leonen, whose guilty hands have often been overlooked. He originally negotiated as chief government negotiator the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB). He was instrumental in convincing Aquino to wager all on the Bangsamoro project. With Leonen installed in the high court, the nation is compelled to live out his public life until his retirement. Leonen could cause us many more nightmares before he is done.

    Epitaph for BBL
    The list of reasons for celebrating the demise of the BBL is long.

    One reason that will always stick out for me as particularly offensive is Malaysia’s role as eminence grise (the sinister puppeteer) of the Bangsamoro project.

    I believe I was the first columnist to write that the BBL is a Malaysian Trojan horse – a scheme devised by our Asean neighbor to undermine our nation because of our still unresolved claim and rights to Sabah (North Borneo).

    Ambassador Lauro Baja perhaps described the BBL best when he wrote in this paper and declared in a public forum at the Manila Polo Club that “the BBL was made by Malaysia, in Malaysia, and for Malaysia.”

    That, I submit, is the most fitting epitaph for the Bangsamoro Basic Law.



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    1. So those rejoicing the death of BBL, what’s next in the peace process, another six coming years under a new president who will also be opposed on all sides..the next best thing is mourning for the lost lives of more soldiers and civilians in a foreseeable future that’s where we are going..those rejoicing now they will just be silent..

    2. I will bet that the next move of Misuari is to unite all rebel groups MNLF , MILF Abu Sayap BFF and attack full scale our military and the objective is to separate the Muslim to the Philippines. The worst decision was made by Arroyo when she pardoned Misuari for all crimes committed to get the Muslim votes. I will caution the military to be prepared. They will attack. It is not goodbye BBL. it is good morning carnage. Many will die like the Zamboanga siege but this is much much bigger. It is not a question of will they attack. The question is when will they attack.

    3. Hindi nila mapapaikot ang may paninindigang tapat na batas, isang magandang halimbawa ang nangyari sa mamasapano kung bakit marami ang “no to BBL”

    4. That’s a relief, at least reasonable sya kung bakit ito ibinasura ng kongreso, isn’t it?

    5. Bravo…… / BBL is vanished…GOD SAVE PHILIPPINES FROM THIS CROOK GOVERNMENT WHO WANTS OUR COUNTRY TO BE DISENTIGRATED, LIKE IN BALKANS…MABUHAY KA SIR BBM, who is stand still for his rejecting BBL because it is unconstitutional.. You are right person to be the Vice President of the Philippines, may sariling paninindigan… This is what we need to lead our nation and our people…

    6. When the american pacify the Phil during the revolutionary wars they utilize a very effective tactic: to kill and destroy…when Apolinario Mabini ask for cessation of hostilities in order to negotiate peace and also to buy time for General Luna to strengthened the Army the Americans responded “lay down your arms first before we commence negotiations”. These muslims never consider themselves as Filipinos thus they will never abide/comply to Phil laws. If the Gov’t want to achieve peace in Mindanao then it should emulate what the Americans did to our ancestors more 100 years ago. if the Gov’t don’t have the balls to do that then the only option is to give then their independence. Those muslims will only believe on one shout. “Give me Liberty or give me death”..but since the Phil Gov’t don’t want to give them their liberty then they should exterminate them. Unfortunate is it but its the only way to have peace in mindanao either LIBERTY or DEATH.

    7. The conspirators from Pnoy to Leonen to Deles, Ferrer should be made to answer
      to the Republic of the Philippines for the unfortunate attempt to dismember this country. It had to be an ordinary Malaysian friend of mine to comment that our leaders should take care of our internal problems first than the China encroachment because we will end up losing Mindanao to MILF and Malaysia because these gangs of intellectual
      arrogant and ego trippers ( BS Aquino is simply egoistic, not intellectual ) are selling Mindanao at bargain basement ala 168 shopping center at Divisoria. I agree .

    8. ernie del rosario on

      Amazing, a wake instead of a post-mortem which purpose is to list the lessons learned and to plan out how to mitigate the items which caused the failure and the opportunities to do better next time it gets revived. Ergo, the BBL is a project no one wants to resurrect.

      • Carlos de Castro on

        Yen, correct me if I am wrong that IN any country that I know off any person or group if found to be organizing another form of government is in violation of the rebellion law. Tama ba ako o masyado nang matanda and utak ko. I saw the movie E. Aguinaldo at ang bintang nila kay Bonifacio ay rebellion which is punishable by death.

    9. Leodegardo Pruna on

      BBL is not only “BaBaLa” as senator Kit describes the BBL but also “BaBoy Lamang” meant to totally destroy and disintegrate the nation. God bless the Philippines.

    10. I will surmise that the Muslim terrorist in Mindanao will make a move to show that they can spread terror and unrest in Mindanao. That is the reason MNLF held a meeting in Sulu to discuss the failure of BBL. I will bet that Nur Misuari leads this group. The same Misuari pardoned by Ex president Arroryo. Expect that there will be turmoil in Mindanao maybe during the election day to made their move memorable.

    11. Ma salaam, bbl and to the west of the circus clowns who attempted to force down our throats a bitter concoction of lies and deceit! Alhamdullilah!

    12. Truly a sad part of history for the Philippines for there are traitors in our country who are bought by foreign nation like Malaysia! Thank God, there’s a nationalistic senator like Bongbong Marcos who tried his best to save the republic from being dismantled by uncaring leaders such as Noynoy Aquino! May God save the Republic of the Philippines.

      • True, BBM junk BBL because this is not the way to stop threat of this and the way to peace process since before they had already peace aggreement with MNLF under Misuari but it failed, and became rebellious againts the government. The author of Zamboanga siege are the MNLF, Now the Pnoy goverment wants MILF to have this BBL. when again this peace agreement colapse, BIFF again will rise up..But during Erap time miost of the camps of MILF has been bombed and taken over by the Military due to contineous bombardments almost daily. But what happened during PGMA terms the camps was given again to MILF of which they made it to be thier training cam for the new recruits and even made as their armory factory…

    13. Philippines is a very diverse country of various ethnic origins but many do not want to belong to the country as a whole. My two cents tells me because of wide spread corruption. I’m just sayin’.