WE are for peace in Mindanao. And we can see that SOME of the leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front — Peace Panel Chairman Mohagher Iqbal, we believe, for one–are sincere when they say they do consider themselves Filipinos, citizens of the Philippines and want their desired Bangsamoro substate or autonomous region to remain a member of the Republic of the Philippines.
But we cannot urge Congress to pass the pending Bangsamoro Basic Law (the future constitution of the Bangsamoro substate) in its present form as written by the MILF Central Committee (or whoever) and then slightly amended and certified to Congress for urgent approval by the de facto, Smartmatic-PCOS-machine produced President of the Philippines B. S. Aquino.
Many erudite, legal experts and constitutionalists in and outside both houses of Congress have pointed out the many unconstitutional provisions of the BBL draft now pending and being discussed in the House of Representatives and the Senate — until hearings were suspended because of the Mamasapano Massacre. Congressmen and senators have prepared and submitted changes to correct or remove those unconstitutional provisions, as well as those provisions that run against existing laws of our Republic.
Not only is the Palace-MILF draft of the BBL full of unconstitutional provisions, it also rests on the premise that it is, in effect, the enabling law that will carry out the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB) and an earlier document, the Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro (FAB), both which were signed by representatives of the Philippine government and the MILF.
These two documents contain explicit rejections of the foundational principles of the Philippine Republic and the Philippine Constitution. So even if the BBL were amended and passed, as long as it is contains a reference to being based on the CAB as its source and organic principle, it cannot be passed.
Yesterday, at the Balitaan sa Rembrandt Forum, Abraham Idjirani spokesman of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo voiced the thinking of most Muslim Filipinos who are not of the Maguindanao ethnic community or MILF camp followers. He reminded Filipinos that in pushing for the BBL, the Aquino peace process people and their MILF counterparts have not bothered to consult other Mindanao stakeholders, including Muslims who are not allied or sympathetic to the MILF. He urged all Filipino people’s organizations espousing change and peace to bat for the active participation of the Sultanate and other Muslim and non-Muslim Mindanao stakeholders in the peace process. Or else, he warned, nothing will be achieved, just as what’s happening now to the Bangsamoro deal.
Also yesterday, two Mindanao congressmen and congresswoman, interviewed in ABSCBN’s Beyond Politics program, all said they want the BBL passed but only after their amendments have been included. The two congressmen them voiced worries about the fundamental basis of the BBL, the anti-Philippine Republic CAB, as a big problem that must be solved. But solving the CAB problem means the whole peace treaty has to be renegotiated.
The dark shadow looming above all of this is the unretracted statement of policy made by the Chairman of the MILF Central Committee in a letter to the House of Representatives. This statement says that the MILF has been dealing with the entire Philippine government embodied by the President of the Philippines who as commander in chief has the power to bind all branches of government. Therefore there is no reason or need for Chairman Al-Hajj Murad Ebrahim to appear in the congressional hearings about the BBL.
If this is the position of the MILF chairman and of the entire central Committee, which is the ruling body of this rebel separatist organization, then there is no reason for Congress to waste time and money holding hearings about the BBL and debating about amendments to make it conform to our Constitution and to particular laws of our Republic.
Until he repudiates his policy statement, Chairman Murad stands on record as willing to only the BBL that they have written. Therefore they will insist that the anti-Philippine Republic contents of the CAB are carried out.
De facto President BS Aquino, his co-workers Sec. Teresita Deles and Peace Panel Chairwoman Miriam Coronel-Ferrer have committed treason in agreeing to the terms of the CAB. They also committed criminal negligence in proceeding with the peace process to reach this point — of pressuring our Congress to pass a Bangsamoro substate mini-constitution–without ascertaining that the MILF central committee fully understood and accepted what the Philippine Republic and Constitution stand for, how our government works and that the MILF’s desired Bagsamoro substate would just be a part of the Philippines and not an independent country whose leadership can opt to secede.