“It matters not how straight the gate
How charged with punishment the scroll
I am the master of my fate
I am the captain of my soul.”
—Invictus by William Ernest Henly
These are trying times for our country. We are at the cross-roads. We have to make choices – to run or not to run; to sit or not to sit; to take a stand or run away; to do battle or sit in silence.
You have to make choices. We, me, I have decided to take a stand and do battle. I have opted to man the barricades and wait for the appropriate time to make the final charge not into the valley of death but into victory so freedom, equality and justice will prevail in this land. The charge will be made in a constitutional sense because I am a man of the law. But even as a man of the law, I am also a Sun Tzu warrior. I don’t aim to lose; I am determined to win whatever it takes to do it. In the words of that legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers, Vince Lombardi, winning is not everything, it is the only thing.
Like the case of the Bangsamoro Basic Law(BBL), otherwise known in the Cebuano speaking provinces and cities as the Buang Buang Law (Crazy Law). This proposal should not pass Congress and the Supreme Court. It is a bill conceived in ignorance and incompetence. Even before it has passed Congress, the agreements which led to the commitment to pass the BBL violate the Philippine Constitution in many points.
It is complete error for Pnoy to enter into the agreements. First, a peace agreement of this kind with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) can never bring peace to Mindanao for several reasons, among which are the following: a) there are other guerrilla groups in Mindanao which are against the agreements and the BBL – Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), Bangsa Islamic Freedom Forces (BIFF), JEM and Abbu Sayaff; and b) there is unbending opposition to the agreements and the BBL by the overwhelming Christian majority and the lumads.
Second, the constitutional infirmities are insurmountable – violation of Section 1 Article I of the Constitution on national territory and sovereignty since they establish a state within the state with sovereign powers equal to the government of the Republic; Section 1, Article II of the Constitution on all government authority residing in the people; Section 1, Article III of the Constitution on the equal protection clause since the Moro would have more rights than the rest of the citizens of this country like divorce and polygamy, among many other privileges; it violates Section 5, Article III of the Constitution since for Islam, that’s the religion of the MILF, government is also its religion, thus establishing a religion within its area; it violates Section 9, Article II of the Constitution which mandates the government to provide a just and dynamic social order that “ensure…an improved quality of life for all” when the creation of the BBL will produce social and political imbalance in the country; it violates section 19, Article II of the Constition which requires “The State shall develop a self-reliant and independent national economy effectively controlled by the Filipinos,” since the Bangsamoro economy will be controlled by Malaysia, Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) and the emerging Islamic Universal Caliphate for the moment represented by ISIS and ISIL, not to speak of the United States of America; it violates section 26, Article II of the Constitution which provides that – “The State shall guarantee equal access of opportunities for public service,” when the access will be unequal in favor of the Moros as against the Christians and lumads; it violates section 27, Article II of the Constitution which orders the State to “maintain honesty and integrity in the public service when the GRP panel of PNoy has been lying through its teeth about the so-called constitutionality of the agreements and the BBL and their ensuing benefits to the country; it violates Articles VI, VII and VIII which enshrine a unitary and presidential system of government because the BBL creates a sub-state which will have a parliamentary form of government within a presidential system; it violates section 5, Article VII of the Constitution which requires the President to “preserve and defend the Constitution, execute its laws, do justice to every man, and consecrate myself to the service of the Nation” as PNoy has done everything to violate every inch of this provision in favor of the MILF and the Malaysians; it violates Article IX of the Constitution on independent constitutional bodies since BM will have its own independent commission on elections, commission on audit and civil service commission; it violates section 1, Article X of the Constitution since a sub-state is not included in the enumeration of the territorial and political subdivisions of the country and the BM would have more rights than the local government subdivisions; it violates Article XVII on Amendments or Revisions which prescribes methods of amending or revision of the Constitution but the BBL amends or revises the Constitution without going through the process of Constitutional amendments or revisions or by statute or ordinary law.
How anybody could pass the BBL as proposed by PNOY makes me wonder and this is an understatement because it takes an insane person or one affected by Asperger syndrome to imagine it. I suggest the view that even if the BBL would be presented to a discussion and subsequently submitted to vote to the patients or denizens of the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) in Mandaluyong, it will be a shock treatment resulting to all of them to recover from their mental ailment or, at least, trigger a general lucid interval among them resulting in the defeat of the proposal.
Of course this will never happen. I am just illustrating the absurdity of the BBL proposal.
However, the mainstream media are ecstatic about the proposal of seventeen senators headed by Senator Bongbong Marcos claiming that they have a version of the BBL which can stand the test of the Constitution and the realities on the ground. I have an open mind about the validity and viability of their version.
What are the credentials of these senators who think that the constitutional infirmities of the original BBL and the realities on the ground are different from what PNoy thinks about them, if he knows how to think? Let’s start with Senator Marcos. He is not a lawyer; he is not a professor of Constitutional Law; and on top of that, he is not from Mindanao. What on earth is the reason for his presumptuousness that he has discovered the solution to the BBL and the age-old Mindanao problems?
He should ask mainstream media to print and circulate his version so the people can judge it. General statements do not validate a version or a solution. It is that simple.
Third, the realities on the ground deny the claims that the BBL can solve the age-old problems in Mindanao. It exacerbates the problems. It is a blatant implementation of the policy of ignorant politicians in this country based in Manila to divide and rule Mindanao. That’s what BBL does – divide the Muslims from the Christians and the lumads; divide the Muslims among themselves. But soon enough if these politicians like PNoy do not learn, Mindanao will gun for independence. And that will become imminent because the equation in Mindanao and in the country has changed.
It is not BBL that is the solution to have peace in Mindanao. It is a new system in the country – a federal and parliamentary system because the equation in the country will totally change. We have been suffering fools as our national leaders these past many decades. By change of system, we can have leaders who have the three Bs, in the words of a friend from way back, Nilo Tayag – the BEST, the BRIGHTEST and the BRAVEST. And my friend Nilo was quick to add the three Cs – COMPETENT, CLEAN and COMMITTED.
We cannot find these leaders in elections. In transition, we can only find these leaders in the womb of our people by participating in a dialogue for a CONSTITUTIONAL TRANSITION GOVERNMENT. I urge all elements in this country to participate in this dialogue. Because the alternative is the deluge!