IF President BS Aquino The Last is really serious about breaking protocol and talk with senators about the Law on the Bangsa Moro (LBM), also known as Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), then he should be willing to make the Senate the venue of the discussion, not Malacañang.
He seems confident that he can succeed where his peace advisors and legal counsel have lagged in selling the LBM to the senators. If he’ll do the convincing of the Doubting Thomases in Malacañang, there’ll be talks of bribery, especially if he’ll have Budget Secretary Butch Abad by his side during the meeting. Tongues will wag that it was the “pork” that did the talking, not the merits of the LBM.
Sen. Serge Osmena has aired the suspicions of many that Malacañang might dangle the pork barrel as come-on. Indeed, at the legislature, “pork” is the best argument in favor of anything that BS Aquino wants. To obviate such talks that could further tar BS Aquino’s image, he should do the talking at the Senate, before the Committee on Local Governments headed by Sen. Bongbong Marcos that’s conducting public hearings on the LBM.
With BS Aquino The Last personally defending the LBM at the Senate, he can prove to all and sundry that he’s so intelligent that he needs no consultations, neither with the National Security Council on the West Philippine Sea problem, nor with the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council on the legislative agenda. He can try to disprove in a televised public hearing the claims of Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago on the unconstitutionality of several LBM provisions.
I remember that when he was still a congressman, BS Aquino The Last was described by Senator Miriam as “a sorry excuse for a scion of a great man whom I would want to educate — if he is educable.” The public hearing at the Senate will be a great opportunity for him to show how wrong Senator Miriam was. Or, his testimony could show that he still needed educating, especially on legal points. He once debated with a legal eagle, Sen. Joker Arroyo, and was humiliated. He bared his trait as onion-skinned for to this day, he hasn’t spoken with Joker, a family friend of more than 40 decades, all because Joker refused to play along with his belief that he knows about the law more than Joker.
There are now suspicions that the sudden about-face of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on prosecuting more senators and congressmen who are allegedly involved in the misuse of their pork barrel has to do with the LBM. The scuttlebutt is that De Lima found the time to consider this prosecution to serve as a “stick” in pushing for Congress’ approval of the LBM.
There’s no reason why Malacañang and the Yellows should be so het up about the passage of the LBM before BS Aquino The Last delivers his final State of the Nation Address. In his first SONA, he talked of the need for an Anti-Trust Law. This should have stalled big companies from fixing prices and controlling supplies. It has been five years but no bill has been approved on third and final reading in either chamber. During the presidential campaign, he reiterated his position when he was a senator for the enactment of the Freedom of Information Act. He hasn’t acted on this since he became president. Contrast this to his belly-aching for the immediate passage of the LBM and you’ll be scratching your head about his sense of priorities.
He famously called the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao “a failed experiment” and must be replaced. He put his own men at the ARMM but has this autonomous region become better? What are the assurances that the proposed Bangsamoro substate will not follow the footsteps of the ARMM?
Speaking of the ARMM, I received a note from a certain Adeeb Limbutungan about some officials in Maguindanao who are living it up amid the “suffering and deaths of their hapless and poor constituents.”
He posted a picture of Vice Mayor King Jhazzer Mangudadatu of Buluan, Maguindanao with his ringside ticket at the Fight of the Century between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather “as if mocking the atmosphere of fear and hardship in our hometown.” BTW, he said the photo was grabbed from the FB of Mangudadatu, the eldest son of Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu.
“Limbutungan” who appears to be a townmate of Mangudadatu, said that the Mangudadatus also owned a P25-million R44 Raven II vehicle, a Hummer, and three helicopters. He asks where did they get the money to buy these luxury items.