Here’s a cautionary tale that I want to share with friends and readers in Mindanao, and the members of the Philippine Supreme Court who will hear the two petitions to nullify the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) and the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB).
In 1991, the Russian cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev left Leningrad for a 313-day journey in space.
Almost a year later, he returned to earth — to a city no longer on the map (Leningrad) and a country that no longer existed (the Soviet Union).
The Soviet Union was dissolved on December 26,1991, while Krikalev was in space. Leningrad officially reverted to its old name, St. Petersburg.
The point of the story is that in these times of massive change, even the certainties of geography and location can no longer be assumed.
Aquino’s delusion and legacy
Something similar to Kirkalev’s experience is being forced on Filipinos by President Aquino with his Bangsamoro fantasy. For as long as he is President of our republic, we must be on constant guard because he will stubbornly cling to the delusion that Bangsamoro will be the great legacy of his presidency.
We could wake up one day to the reality that Mindanao is no longer part of the national territory, or that the Philippines has become just a state in the Malaysian Federation.
This for me is the most compelling reason for seeking a High Court ruling that the CAB and FAB are unconstitutional and invalid, and for obstructing passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in Congress. It is infinitely better to just amend and upgrade the existing and constitutional Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
Who is the Filipino not named Aquino who would wish to justify the cutting off of Mindanao from the Philippine archipelago by saying, we are giving peace a chance?
Unmask the devil in the details
Thanks to the petitions, which the SC has agreed to hear, the issue–for or against the dismemberment of the national territory–has to be won by argument in court.
To win the argument before the Supreme Court, I believe the petitioners will serve their cause effectively if they unmask the devil in the details of these onerous agreements.
They should challenge Aquino’s arrogation of powers that have not been bestowed on him by the Constitution.
They must reject the contention of the MILF that they are a nation within the nation, with roots in the very beginning of our history.
In this task, they will do well to make use of all the information and admissions secured in the hearings conducted by the Senate Committee on Local Government under the chairmanship of Sen. Bongbong Marcos. Through painstaking questioning, they extracted details of every concession made by our peace negotiators, and every demand made by the MILF.
There should be no mincing of words in calling the actions of President Aquino and his negotiators as unforgivable acts of treason against the republic that should be punished accordingly.
The hearing by the High Court of the petitions is a necessary step toward stopping the President from bribing Congress to secure passage of the BBL. By seeking to enjoin the expenditure of public money for the Bangsamoro, the project will die.
It is strategically sound that the petitioners targeted the agreements, not the BBL. Had they done otherwise, the High Court would surely rule that the challenge is premature, because Congress has not yet passed the BBL. With the agreements voided, Ferrer, Deles and Iqbal will shut up.
This way, the nation will be treated to a debate on the fundamentals of the Bangsamoro project, and the reasoning that led to it. The government will be forced to justify its decisions. Our peace negotiators will have to earn their money. Even the MILF must make its case for imagining themselves as the custodian of Filipino-Muslim aspirations for nationhood.
Because Cardinal Tagle lent his name to the ignominious mission of the Citizens’ Peace Council to sugar-coat the BBL, it is commendable that other top leaders of the Catholic Church have joined the petitions to formally question the agreements underpinning the controversial BBL. This will help to restore the Church’s gravitas on this great issue of national life.
If the SC agrees with the petitioners, it will put an end to prolonged contention over the BBL in Congress.
In the same way that the court ended all talk about the agreement on ancestral domain (MOA-AD), so will a decision to excise the FAB, CAB and BBL from our public life.
The high tribunal can do this because it is truly the final arbiter of all legal conflicts that divide the nation. The ordinary citizen knows this.
A compensatory vision
Following compensation theory in psychology, I think we Filipinos will get reparation for all the sleepless nights we underwent because of the Bangsamoro agreements.
Instead of waking up with Mindanao no longer on the national map, we will wake up next year as a nation wherein BS Aquino is no longer President. God is great!