Last of two parts

‘Peace Council’ Report: MILF couldn’t have written it better

26

Remember their names: Jaime Zobel de Ayala, Howard Dee, Cardinal Tagle, Bai Sumndad-Usman and especially former Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide.

While I don’t think they authored a single sentence of it, and had really very little to do with its contents, they affixed their signatures to the report of President Aquino’s totally mislabeled Citizens’ Peace Council.

 MILF fighters: If they’re given their Bangsamoro (Moro Nation State) as Aquino wants, would they grow in strength that they’d, instead, want to be a member of the Muslim-dominated Federation of Malaysia?

MILF fighters: If they’re given their Bangsamoro (Moro Nation State) as Aquino wants, would they grow in strength that they’d, instead, want to be a member of the Muslim-dominated Federation of Malaysia?

They have shamelessly allowed their names to be used in a propaganda offensive to praise the BBL to high heavens in order to portray that its enactment is the road to peace.

The report is intended to bamboozle Congress to pass it and fool the nation that distinguished citizens support it, which actually would only create conditions for the strengthening of an armed Islamic group that would dismember the Republic. “We agreed that the BBL is overwhelmingly acceptable and deserves the support of all Filipinos,” was the report’s conclusion.


The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) couldn’t have written such a report better.

I’ve read several times their report (and I suggest you do, too), and I am shocked at how ignorant, dishonest and deceptive it is.

For starters, the proposed bill was entitled Bangsamoro (BM) Basic Law, and its entire aim is to establish a new political entity called BM. The report, in fact, uses the term BM over 567 times in the 200-page report.

Did they even discuss what this “BM”­– which translates to “Moro Nation-state” – really means in the first place? No.

There is not even a single sentence in the entire report that explains what it is and justifies the use of that term. Weren’t they even curious why the MILF is using the term “Moro,” which is as pejorative for Muslims now as it was first used by the Spanish colonizers? Didn’t they wonder why the Malaysian term, bangsa, is being used rather than the Pilipino words for nation, bansa or bayan?

As I have explained in several columns, BM is an invented term: A BM does not exist, it is an invented term first used in 1935 and then adopted by the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and its breakaway group, the MILF, to falsely portray that their struggle is to recover a “homeland” taken away from them by Christians from Luzon.

But there was no such nation-state in our history. The only states Muslims in Mindanao were members of were the Sultanate of Sulu and Borneo over the Tausug tribe and the Sultanate of Maguindanao over the Maguindanaons.

One could argue that it was unfair for the US colonizers not to recognize those feudal states and for their subjects to be integrated by force into a new nation state called the Republic of the Philippines. However, in the Constitutional Convention of 1935, the proposal of one delegate to allow the Muslims to create their own nation state was shot down by everyone.

And we cannot turn back the hands of time, as Native Americans, as well as the aborigines of Australia, or of Canada who unsuccessfully tried to popularize the term “First Nation,” have realized.

In a presentation before corporate executives recently, political scientist Dr. Allan Ortiz raised the point that the BBL is merely a “peace agreement” with just one tribe of Filipino Muslims, the Maguindanaons, who make up the MILF.

In sarcasm, Ortiz says: “We may have to conclude a separate peace with the Tausugs of Sulu and Tawi-Tawi sometime in the future; meantime 18 lumad groups have to be persuaded to call themselves ‘Moros’ and part of the ‘Moro Nation’ or Bangsamoro.”

This points to the BBL’s most basic violation of the constitution. Other than the national government, local governments, and autonomous regions, the Constitution does not allow any other form of government, no other nation-state within the Republic.

It is so disappointing that one of the “council’s” members, Davide, is a former Chief Justice. He appears to have totally ignored the fact that the Supreme Court nearly reached a unanimous decision to strike down the previous administration’s agreement with the MILF called the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain. Much of the Court’s analysis applies to the BBL.

For instance, the BBL’s definition of “BM” is as follows: “Those who at the time of conquest and colonization were considered natives or original inhabitants of Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago and its adjacent islands, including Palawan, and their descendants, whether of mixed or full blood, shall have the right to identify themselves as Bangsamoro by ascription or self-ascription. Spouses and their descendants are classified as Bangsamoro.”

But a similar provision in the MOA-AD was deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, since that definition would include 18 lumad tribes who aren’t Muslims, and therefore violate their constitutional rights.
It is shocking how the “council’s” report could be so dishonest. One example involves the BBL’s provision that the justice system in the BM shall consist of Shari-ah law “which shall have supremacy” over the Muslims. This is blatantly against the constitution, which is supposed to have only one set of laws, a secular one that applies to all citizens, and the final arbiter of what a law calls for is the Supreme Court.

But the “council’s” report claims: “The Constitution itself permits and implicitly contemplates what the draft Law would establish – a legal system in the Bangsamoro that is plural and particular in content, informed by universal norms of justice and human rights and all these are subject to the supremacy of the Constitution.”

And what is its source for such a claim? Justice Secretary Leila de Lima. And it’s not even de Lima’s written opinion, just her verbal remarks as reported in a news article.

But you’d fall off your seat if you realized the “council’s” framework for evaluating whether the BBL is constitutional or not. The report says:
“Much of the confusion and concern about the constitutionality of the BBL can be resolved by applying one of the most basic rules of interpretation in Constitutional Law: that as the fundamental, paramount, and supreme law of the nation, the Constitution is deemed written in every statute and contract. As a rule of statutory construction, if there are provisions of a statute irreconcilable with the Constitution, the Constitution prevails. When reading the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law, it is therefore presumed that all constitutional powers of government and the Constitutional Commissions and bodies remain intact, regardless of whether the law explicitly provides for it or not.” (Emphasis mine.)

This is a gargantuan misinterpretation that is the height of stupidity. What the report is claiming is this: We must assume that the BBL’s provisions conform to the Constitution, since the Constitution is the “supreme law of the nation.” It is really a tautological, circular argument. “The BBL conforms to the Constitution. Therefore, interpret everything in it as conforming to the Constitution.”

Thus, among many provisions of the BBL, it says that the “Bangsamoro” or Moro Nation-State, is merely a form of autonomy even required by the Constitution, never mind if it gives the BM powers beyond autonomy such as having its own police force under the command of its “Chief Minister,” having nearly total control over the territories’ national resources, and requiring that our Armed Forces coordinate first with the BM authorities before they undertake operations in those areas.

I hope the Supreme Court would issue a ruling soon on the constitutionality of the BBL and knock some sense into the heads of these “citizens.” We have spent so much time and money in what is so patently an unconstitutional, even stupid bill.

Why on earth would our Republic want to create a “Bangsamoro,” a Moro Nation-State, which isn’t even a form of government allowed in the Constitution?

Under the BBL it would be given huge resources and ruled by the Islamist insurgent group, the MILF. It would be left on its own by our legal system and our armed forces that five years later – as the MILF”s strategic plan calls for – it could simply declare that it has had enough of this Christian-dominated Philippine Republic and would prefer to be a member of the Federation of Malaysia, ruled by people who believe in the Koran.

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26 Comments

  1. Rolando Tribo on

    It is really a BIG SHAME that prominent citizens(members of the PEACE COUNCIL) of our country are used and agreed to put their names supporting a FAKE PEACE PROCESS. The introductory portions of BBL are worded with sweet lies such as providing freedom of religion. Reading through all the Articles, an articulated and intelligent individual will find its true objectives, that is to create a separate government based in the principles of Quor’an with Shari’ah Law as the Supreme Justice System. An Article requiring only 10% of voters to have a plebiscite in joining the Bangsamora is a creeping strategy to get all the adjacent areas including those of the non-muslim areas. This will be easy for them by frightening those groups that are not fully armed like MILF. In due time, when most of Mindanao become part of Bangsamoro, they will declare having a whole Mindanao Plebiscite to be part of the Malaysia Confederate.

  2. JuanInAwhile on

    Yours is a brilliant and fair analysis, Amb. Tiglao. It is apparent that there was not enough wholesome and profound deliberation spent in formulating that position paper of the Council. It is full of froth in support of the BBL…. shameful.

  3. Yung Peace Council na yan ay ang mga kasapi ay may interest sa gobyerno hindi sa mga Pilipino. Napiringan na sila ni Pinoy kaya wala nang direction sila kundi sundin ang bulag na lider sa katotohanan. Tanong ko lamang nagiging bobo na ba nang mga tao sa katangian ng salapi at mga pangako?

  4. I think it’s a done deal as far as the govt. is concerned.They are really hell bent on pushing through with the BBL.The ordinary people on the ground,I mean, the residents in the affected area will be the ones who will decide the reality.Whether they will oppose it by armed resistance or not will determine the real outcome.Or maybe the whole nation will oppose it through armed militia groups or volunteers just like in the Ukraine.The Armed Forces may become split.An ugly scenario but possible.I think this is the(BBL),is the ultimate calamity that we will experience under this administration.

  5. concerned citizen on

    PNoy’s stupidity is just too contagious , even people smarter than him just allow to downgrade themselves just to be in par with him for their own self interests at the expense of the whole nation.

    • Agree. Pnoy’s stupidity is contagious and disastrous for this country. Even the bright ones have become more stupid than pnoy. If we don’t stop them, this country will go to the dogs.

  6. Indeed, we call on all citizens to compile the names of all those who participated in that farce of a citizen’s council as well as all legislators who shall affix their name in that crap that asinine simyon is propagating for his masters for they shall all be liable for treason in their attempt to dismember our country. We never need to wait for the perfection of the crime for when that happens, the whole of Mindanao has become a federation of another country. Just an attempt alone should suffice for conviction. Surely, we shall summarily put all those guys and gals in a special manse at Panatag where they can prostrate themselves 24 hours Ache Ball while awaiting resolution of their application for bail for their treasonous acts.

  7. Alejo Rosete on

    Maraming salamat po Ambassador Tiglao for your good column.
    A very good analysis. Please Ambassador continue your expose’

    Ang mahirap tanggapin ay pati Cardinal Tagle, Chief Justice Davide
    ay nahawaan ni BS Aquino. Nakakahawa ang sakit niya?

    Hindi bali sana si Howard Dee, Usman, at Jaime dahil membro sila ng YELLOW ARMY
    huwang naman sana si Cardinal at Chief Justice.

  8. Seems that the administration has adopted a recurrence of the Nazi propaganda machine… A lie respected time and time again is accepted as the truth…… We have a country where we have liars for leaders .. Majority in Congress with no backbone only self interest… The Oligarchs only concern is their self interest … . And a citizenry who is apathetic and feels helpless

  9. Bert O. Romero on

    Bangsa is a Malaysian word; Chief Minister is head of a Malaysian member state of the 13 or so Federation of Malaysia; Malaysia has a federal form of government which is the form of government being proposed in the BBL; Mohagher Iqbal is suspected to be a Malaysian national; Malaysia is the facilitator/ mediator of the GPH -MILF peace negotiation. MILF wants to cede Mindanao to Malaysia?

  10. The road to peace was created by the ARMM. The MILF wanted to take over and started a war. They convinced Aquino to scrap the established peace process and make a new one with the MILF in control. We need to scrap everything signed with the MILF and make the ARMM work.

  11. the galamays and machinations of PresiNoynoy and Malaysia towards baBALA HouseBill is pervasive and have influenced already Yen Makabenta of Manila Times.

  12. Helen Ramos on

    Without asking the obvious question of how little regard these luminaries have for the good of the country and people, I would like to ask what do they stand to gain out of this agreement, to make them affix their signatures in that shitty piece of paper. Why, and how much? And in what shape or form is the reward awaiting them, should this piece of paper get the blessing of the supreme court. Note that I have not capitalized the name of the supreme court, pending their decision on the issue, which they have yet to prove to us, will be taken with the highest regard for the constitution and what is best for country and people. I have no faith in the Aquino administration, Congress and in most of our government. The Supreme Court, has yet to prove its worth, as far as I am concerned, given that it has been infected with Aquino appointees.
    What gives?

  13. the bbl is the quid pro quo demanded by the americans and malaysians in exchange for the election of pnoy in 2010. pnoy cannot visualize such a political excercise given his mental capacity. a damocles sword is being hanged by the americans over pnoy’s head. could it be his medical records that uncle sam is in possession? tanong lang.

    • Bonifacio Claudio on

      The video from the radar of the American spyplane during the Mamasapano massacre. What else?

  14. Claro Apolinar on

    Hilarion is a politician– not a great legal mnd but an opportunist!

  15. Let’s campaign for the non-passage of this BBL. The proposed Aquino’s peace deal with his friends MILF and Malaysia’s Najib is totally one-side in favor of the MILFs. About 500 billion of pesos of taxpayer’s money will be granted to the Bangsamoro Entity in five years time once Congress pass the BBL in to a law. Something is fishy here because it was alleged by Ms Carmen Pedrosa of The Philippine Star that a team of top notch lawyers hired by Malaysian Najib crafted this BBL in Malaysia and it was readily accepted by our peace negotiators Deles and Ferrer. Para tayong ginigisa ng Malaysia sa sarili nating mantika. Kasi silang mga Malaysian na naman ang makikinabang sa pag-explore ng natural resources sa Maguindanao na according to some studies the Liguasan marshes are rich in mineral and oil resources. Katulad ng ginagawa ng Malaysia ngayon sa controversial na Sabah na kini-claim ng Sultanate ng Sulu without support from our traydor na Presidenteng Abnoy.

  16. Now that the Pac-May fight is over, we give our thanks to Manny Pacman for the tidings and goodwil that he has brought and bring to our country. “Manny you will always be our National Fist,” a symbol of courage and resiliency. Time after time
    from the Ruby tower that befell us from a strong earthquake to the storm Yolanda
    we stood in suffering as a Nation. Pacman, you lose a fight but won the spiriit of a
    Nation bewildered by corruptioin and insensitivity.
    Scourge with a greater challenge, may your fist blow away those corruptors who seek
    to divide us instead of uniting us. The “BBL” is becoming a poison to us, whip the
    hypocrites, shove into their mouth that we are all called Filipinos that will stand under one flag, one army under a constitiution that we respect and abide.
    Thank You Mr.Tiglao..If you can translate in Pilipino your column and distribute it around the country so that even the poorest among the poor can understand the importance of the BBL to us .. We don’t want to commit our children in
    a war in the future because of the BBL mistakes. We want peace which is fair to everybody…..

  17. The simple, but obvious, question is who actually drew up/wrote the detail of the BBL. i.e which lawyers from which firm based where. It was most probably MILF paid/chosen lawyers from a top international firm.

    Negotiations are like strategic warfare, and trust rarely exists between opposing lawyers. Their aim is to gain something extra whilst giving away next to nothing. Market reputations, and fee structures depend upon it.

    If in the background, the philippines are lining up ambulance chasers against international lawyers then there is a high likelihood of being sold a dummy, and not finding out about it until it is too late.

    The clever lawyer will also let you think you have won something, whilst he knows that he has won, and will later get the bonus to show for it.

    Seeing some of the front line negotiators it is clear that secretary teresita deles is not the smartest person in the room. Does not augur well for the outcome.

    Malacanang are now pushing hard for BBL to be passed without even any amendments! It shows that an under the table deal has been done and that they are now negotiating on behalf of MILF. How crazy is that. And how relevant are the senate/congress if they just bend over and take it, after endless pontificating.

    All those who vote for BBL should be voted out of office next year. They have abdicated their responsibility, not listened to the people, and shown themselves to be unfit and superfluous to requirements.

    In its current form the BBL is only of use as toilet paper.

  18. BBL is a bad philippine bill crafted by good malaysian lawyers and sold by rebel opportunists to a naive negotiator.
    It is aided by a cabal of misfits including corrupt politicians, greedy businessmen, weak sycophants, and an incompetent leader, who, rather than listening are acting as snake oil salemen.
    When those in power let self interest over-ride national interest, then treachery is the inevitable outcome.
    There will be a heavy price to pay, in both social and economic terms, and the international reputation of the philippines politics/politicians will continue its race to the bottom of the 3rd world order.
    Caveat emptor.

  19. The person who is the biggest anomaly in that so-called peace council is Hilarion Davide, Sr. who was an ex Supreme Court Justice head but an overwhelming Cojuangco-Aquino lapdog. Why Erap appointed Davide to be CJ is a big question by itself, among the most notable law experts during his tenure like Estillito Mendoza and others.. Erap was not able to withstand the lobbying pressure of Cory Aquino and her cahoots. Poor Erap did not know that Cory Aquino just used him, only to be the same Cory Aquino who spearheaded his ouster.

  20. Mr. Tiglao, you are absolutely correct in your premise and conclusion on the BBL origin, divisive objective and unconstitutional spirit! BBL should not even be drafted discuss or debated for it has no beneficial value, nationalistic, economic or legal basis for its conceptualization. BBL is a discordant factor in uniting Muslim and non-Muslim PILIPINOS as one Nation -State and used as a ploy by fanatic insurgent Muslims to dismember the Nation after it is passed and destabilizing factors are concocted by MILF sponsoring group. Pnoy is an unpatriotic, narcissistic leader who just wish to leave a legacy of chaos, intrigue and political, economic and religious divisions and animosities among PILIPINOS. Why is Cardinal Tagle and Davide so magnanimously lend their prestigious names to endorse the passage of BBL, just because Pnoy, the atheist, named them in the Peace Council? This Council is subvertive of the PILIPINOS principles of unity on “one people, one nation”. The Constitution only allows multi religious faiths and one Nation, not separate and independent MultiState or multi-government. Pnoy, this Council and whoever sponsor, votes or endorses the BBL passage desecrates the Pilipino heroes who worked and fight for Philippine indepence as one Nation and the ideals of all Filipinos for a united Nation. Those who go against this principle are traitors and unpatriotic and the least, are mindless of the nations hard-earned independence as a whole country composed of the big islands, Luzon-VISAYAS-Mindanao, known as the Republic of the Philippines!

  21. P.Akialamiro on

    What a “disservice” we got from such ‘respectable erudite’ citizenbs we have. What a shame for having a group being ‘used! What a “fucked up” country we have!