The clearest sign that the Bangsamoro bill is a measure of dubious and shabby origins is the fact that it does not have a champion in either house of Congress–one sponsor to present a reasoned and cogent defense of it, one to sing its merits and importance across the length and breadth of the archipelago, one voice to defend it against detractors and answer all objectors.
The fact is the BBL is a foundling – an infant whose parents are unknown, like one senator out there. What the BBL has is an abundance of surrogate fathers, who were induced to claim parenthood in exchange for 30 pieces of silver.
A baby with Noynoy’s DNA
Everyone thinks that this is President Noynoy’s baby, which bears his DNA in the same way that the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) is unmistakably his. It was he who seeded it from the start. Alias Mohagher Iqbal and fake Miriam Ferrer served only as the surrogate couple to bring it to birth.
There is a well-founded rumor that the silver being used by Aquino to pay surrogates was taken wholesale from the public treasury. If so, we Filipinos are being made to pay these scoundrels to shortchange the nation and fool us.
Because of the silver, Congressman Rufus Rodriguez executed a 360-degree turn from seemingly principled chair of the house ad hoc committee to servile subject of the emperor with no clothes.
Because of the silver, and by the principle of party responsibility, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte ought to rise as the champion of the BBL. But he is an ancient warrior and not a credible champion. He cannot remember anymore the last time when he delivered a speech to champion a cause.
Because of the silver and because of all the largesse from Aquino he has feasted on, Senate President Franklin Drilon will readily volunteer to champion the BBL in the Senate. But his fellow senators and partymates believe his sponsorship is the surest way to lose the battle.
Unbridled attack on our Republic
Why are there no willing and vocal champions of the BBL despite all the silver flowing around?
First, because the BBL is an unbridled attack on our nation, our Constitution and our Republic? It is a “constitutional abomination,” to borrow Senator Juan Ponce Enrile‘s description of the proposed military bases treaty with the US which the Senate rejected in 1991. It should be aborted even though this country has outlawed abortion.
Second, because everything about the BBL is a lie, beginning with the identities of the individuals who negotiated and drafted it. The very name Bangsamoro is a lie, because there is no Moro nation in the Philippines. There is no Moro homeland.
Third, the government structure it proposes to set up with a Bangsamoro parliament and Bangsamoro autonomous government is not provided for in the one and only Philippine Constitution, which is supreme in this country.
Aquino is not the Republic
The big lie that led to all this talk about a BBL is that when President Aquino signed the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), he committed the government to the passage by Congress of the Bangsamoro Basic Law. In fact, he has no authority to do so.
Aquino is not the Philippine government or the Republic. He represents only one branch of government. And his decisions and acts can be declared illegal and unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
No legislator is willing to stand up in Congress or in the public square to champion the BBL because it will be like committing political suicide. He will feel his nose grow longer as he talks about the bill. Every word he utters will be taped and then replayed over and over, and used to defeat him in the 2016 election, if he dares to run for office.
President Aquino will be brave enough to defend the BBL in public. He has no choice. He cannot disown his child without turning it into a bastard.
Congress will redeem itself by saying No
I predict that as the debate over the BBL becomes serious in both halls of Congress, most of our legislators will recognize the surpassing importance of this issue to the future and wellbeing of our people and our country. They will finally acknowledge the real interest they are supposed to represent in our legislature – which is the interest of our sovereign people.
They will see the opportunity to repair Congress and heal its image and reputation as “the broken branch of government.” They will see President Aquino’s utter contempt for them and for our legislature in thinking that they will do his every bidding, no matter how foul the project.
After a period of decadence and scandal, when some of our senators were charged with plunder and held in detention, the Senate will realize that in the decision on the BBL, it has an opportunity to redeem itself and recapture its once sterling reputation. For clearly, it does not lack of senators who have the courage of their convictions to reject bullying and bribery by the President.
Even the House, despite its reputation for corruption and sleaze, will begin to wake up to its higher responsibility and realize that it was vested with the power of the purse and the power of impeachment for a reason.
Not everyone will wake up to the call of people and country. But beginning with a few, soon there will be more, and more, and eventually there will be a majority who will not be denied in saying that the BBL will not pass this Congress.
When the battle over the BBL is over, the Congress of the Philippines will be standing proud and tall.
And there will be no Bangsamoro parliament to rival it.