Vote on BBL like Senate vote on bases treaty in 1991


With the same lawlessness and constitutional ignorance that marked his presidency from Day one (his first act was the creation of the unconstitutional Truth Commission) and ever since, President Benigno BS Aquino 3rd is now pulling out all the stops and dropping all restraints in inducing Congress to pass the proposed Bangsamoro Basic law (BBL).

With a president this batty, our only hope to stop this train to disaster is for Congress to realize this is its historic opportunity to perform a great service to the nation – by declaratively refusing to pass it. Failing that, our last best hope is for the Supreme Court to rule any approved bill on the Bangsamoro as unconstitutional.

If the high court rules on the Bangsamoro as emphatically as it ruled on the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD), BBL will vanish like MOA-AD from the public sphere.

Aquino’s crossing of his Rubicon

The fight over the BBL is the closest BS Aquino will get to the measure of Julius Caesar. This is his crossing of the line, just as crossing the Rubicon committed Caesar to civil war with the Roman Senate.

President Aquino met with leaders of the House of Representatives twice over the weekend to ensure that the chamber’s ad hoc committee, which is reviewing the bill, will approve the Palace version of the bill.

The meetings were held in Malacañang on Friday and Sunday, with the leaders of parties in the pro-administration coalition in attendance.

Anti-BBL lawmakers have accused ad hoc committee chair Rufus Rodriguez of having already caved to Palace demands. He even prematurely scheduled a committee vote yesterday.

Comparable meetings with senators have not been called yet, principally because the concerned Senate committee chair, Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., is still conducting hearings with Mindanao stakeholders other than the MILF. And Marcos, joined by other senators, appears to be in no particular hurry to meet a Malacañang-imposed deadline.

History and posterity on the line

Sooner or later, both houses of Congress will have to call an up-and-down vote on the BBL, whatever version passes muster.

Before that hour of decision comes, I want to put it to our congressmen and senators that their individual votes on the BBL could be the most important vote they will cast as lawmakers. History will record how they voted during this time of reckoning.

Posterity will ask those who vote yes to create a Moro nation within the Philippine republic and agreed to dismember the national territory, “Why?” Those who steadfastly stand their ground will be remembered with gratitude and affection.

Because of the gravity of this decision, I would liken the vote on the BBL to the vote by the Philippine Senate on the military bases treaty with the United States in 1991. It is that important to the nation.

1991 vote on bases treaty

In 1991, President Corazon Aquino staked the honor and prestige of her presidency on the approval of the proposed new bases treaty. To get the treaty approved, she even led a march on the Senate.

On September 16, 1991, by a vote of 12-11, the 23-member Philippine Senate formally rejected the new Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Security with the United States, which provided for a continued US presence for 10 years. Under the 1987 constitution, US troops could not legally remain without a new treaty.

Senators who voted against the treaty were duly noted by the media. Sen. Agapito Aquino, Cory’s brother-in-law and Ninoy’s kid brother, squeezed in this sound bite: “I love my country more than I love my president.”

Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile called the proposed treaty a “constitutional abomination,” because, he said, it violates Philippine law banning nuclear weapons and other provisions of the 1987 charter.

“For me, it’s a new beginning of our history as a free people,” Enrile said.

The 12 who voted to reject the treaty have since been extolled as the Magnificent 12 for rejecting all blandishments and arguments to approve the treaty.

They have been vindicated even more emphatically by the successful conversion of Subic and Clark into modern economic zones of development. They now employ way, way more Filipinos than the US bases ever did.

An appointment with history

Our current crop of legislators should approach their legislative responsibility on the BBL with a similar sense of patriotism and nationalism.

I feel fortunate in being an active journalist during these two historic votes. I was editor-in chief of the Philippine Daily Globe, when the Bases treaty was debated and defeated.

And now today, with the national map and territory hanging on the balance, and constitutional strictures summarily set aside, I am a regular journalist and columnist working with the Times.

In 1991, our senators literally made history happen.

Now, this 2015, the republic’s representatives and senators will have their appointment with history.

Last Saturday, I attended a symposium on the proposed Bangsamoro law at the Manila Golf Club in Forbes Park.

The discussion featured various scholars, legal experts, legislators, Muslim leaders, civic leaders and media representatives as discussants and reactors.

After the discussion stretched for nearly four hours, the writing was on the wall, writ large and boldly: “The cause for rejection of the BBL is loud and clear.”

Not a single soul in the gathering of several hundred people championed the case for the BBL’s passage. Not one congressman who was there said he will vote for the measure when the time comes for a vote.

Rep. Lito Atienza emphatically declared that his vote is already decided. He broadly suggested that other legislators have probably made their decision too: but they are all waiting for Malacañang to deliver the rewards in advance of the vote.

Justice Manuel Lazaro, chairman of the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa), announced that Philconsa will file a suit before the Supreme Court that will challenge the constitutionality of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

This is significant. If the high court rules them as unconstitutional, the entire panoply holding up the BBL will collapse. No more need to wait for a law, before going to the SC.

One panelist, a former ambassador, said that “the BBL was drafted by, in and for Malaysia.” He also revealed that the MOA-AD was drafted by and in Washington.

Another panelist confirmed my thesis that the very name “Bangsamoro” is cause for the complete rejection of the BBL.

Various representatives of the Sulu sultanate and the Tausug Muslim community took up the opportunity to declare that the Philippine claim to Sabah is still very much alive.

Toward the end of the afternoon, one could sense a consensus emerging that maybe the solution to the so-called Moro question is not in replacing the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) that President Aquino has dismissed as a “failed experiment.”

It could lie in keeping and upgrading ARRM as an autonomous regional government, in its institutional design, its funding support, and its program for the comprehensive stabilization and development of Muslim Mindanao.


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  1. reprecussion911 on

    Peace? BBL is not the absolute solution. Peace, Progress anddevelopment can still be achieve without BBL. One nation One country tosolve the problems of their perspective cities. Makabayan hindi MAKASARILI.

    Don’t pass the BBL its like dealing with a criminal then granting themwith EXTRAVAGANT RANSOM AND REWARD!! Then later on will take the wholeMindanao. Peace ngayon kapag lumakas na gusto pa ng kapangyarihan,kaharasan sa paligid ng claimed area or territory!

    GREED AND LUST OF POWER towards killing AND BEHEADING to get what they want?Negotiating out of fear? dahil sa pumapatay at pumupugot ng ulo?!?

    One nation One country to solve the problems of their perspective cities.Not thru creating a STATE within a STATE.Peace, Progress and Development can still be achieve without BBL.!.!

    Politicians also seeks money, lucrative employment or seeking campaign contribution from the people of CLAIMED TERRITORY under BBL once its passed.Example form? >> The American version of legal form of corruption: >>

  2. Rodolfo Liporada on

    Will Senator Bongbong Marcos cave in if Abnoy promises to have his father buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani?

  3. There are news that BBL will surely pass by both houses, because they will bribe each congressman 50 million pesos and every senator 200 million pesos. The money will come from Malaysia, they said. Let us pray this will not pursue. Let us pray for God’s divine intervention on this BABALA.

  4. This family of traitors to the country from his lolo to his parents and to him. Buti na lang di kasama si Butch dahil talagang patriotic siya in voting against the american bases. Nawala na ang paggalang ko sa pamilyang ito dahil talagang ibinenta tayo sa malaysia ng mga traitors na ito.

  5. genesisbughaw on

    Prostituting our National Soul and Identity.

    Giving the benefit of the doubt. B.S Aquino atrophying stunt with his liberals are truly infectious-we are undersiege in the guise of democratic processes but in all likelyhood is an exercise of sophistry to push what PNOY wants.

    A clear manifestation that were now in virtual Executive Dictatorship.

    These species of liberals are in the league of Party, Drink, Sex and Die.

    They loose their senses of what Nation is.

    Well, we are pinning our hopes to our Senators to stand up for the future of our Country- a gift to our Filipino Youth of today.

    Let me share this.

    People, Pigs, and Principalities by Don Dickerman

    Angels and demons are operating all around you.

    Whether you believe it or not.

    Whether you can see them or not.

    In fact, the Bible tells us there is a battle going on. Demonic powers are at war against God’s children, opposing the work of God. Angels, as part of their creative purpose, minister for God’s people. They are on our side.

    In People, Pigs, and Principalities Don Dickerman gives you insightful teachings and testimonies about this spirit realm and how it intersects with your everyday life. With powerful true stories—including the inspirational story of his youngest son’s contact with angels at the age of seven—Dickerman combines the miraculous events in his own life with support from scripture to empower you to successfully comprehend the spirit world and win your spiritual battles.

    Whether you realize it or not, every day you are involved in the activity of angels, demons, and the spirit realm. The true stories in this book will amaze and inspire you to explore God’s supernatural world for yourself.

    Keep The Pigs Out: How to Slam the Door Shut on Satan and His Demons and Keep Your Spiritual House CLEAN
    by Don Dickerman (Author)


  6. Kale Alaskador on

    NO! to BBL.

    We do not need this law! Implement existing laws equally no matter what religious faith a person believes in, Christians, Muslims, or even non-believers in God. Lawbreakers must be punished equally.

    BBL will only cause the separation of Mindanao from the Republic of the Philippines. It will not create peace. It will create more animosity between Christians and Muslims and also among the Muslims! The culture of the Muslims has always been to war on each other. Family against family, tribe against tribe. The only way to deal with Muslims is by the use of force and never show a sign of weakness.

    Our supposedly honorable Congressmen and Senators know this but want to take advantage of the financial rewards that will go with their support of BBL! Remember those who support BBL. They are traitors! They are committing treason. They have no right to sit as Congressman or Senator! They should be lined up to face the firing squad!

    NO TO BBL!

  7. BALIMBINGS rise to the occassion !
    Magkatabi pa ang new and old balimbing !
    Personalities need to choke on the blood money, the corruptors and the corrupted !

  8. We are watching a congress act against the wishes and desires of the Nation, while it passes a known unconstitutional bill that gives a terrorist group money and power. It looks like Congress is no better than the MILF in wanting money for themselves. Please push the MT to print the votes that are made by Congressman.

  9. Paano Hindi susunod ang mga Tongressman at Senatong Kay Pnoy at kakasuhan sila dahil majority ng mga yan involved sa Scam ni Napoles yung mga Pork Barrel, PDAF at DAF nila. Naninigil na si Pnoy, it’s pay back time. Ganyan kagaral ang mga mambabatas natin!

  10. Mayabang kasi si Abnoy, kaya ayaw niya ng gawa ng ibang Presidente, katulad din ng nanay niyang namayapang si Cory na nag abandona sa Bataan Nuclear Power Plant kaya kulang tayo ngayon ng power generation facilities. Kahit ubusin lahat ni Abnoy ang pondo ng bayan para ma-bribe ang mga kaalyado niya sa Kongreso hindi patatalo ang ating ibang magigiting na mambabatas para i-block itong BBL na legacy kuno ni Abnoy na kinasabwat pa niya ang MILF at Malaysia simula sa secret meeting nila sa Tokyo at pagbuo ng BBL sa bansang Malaysia. Gago, mayabang at traydor itong Presidente natin ngayon at gusto pa niyang i-surrender na ang claim natin sa Sabah. Kahit na-maltreat ang iba nating kababayan sa Sabah wala man lang protesta ang ating gobiyerno. Walang malasakit sa mga commuters (PNR/LRT/MRT fiascos), magsasaka (onions,garlic and rice smuggling) at consumers (high power costs and prime commodities).

  11. Phylliss Quinn on

    You always write enlightening articles, Mr. Makabenta. What a pity the ruling Filipino officials just ignore you and The Manila Times. May God give you more strength and morale to go on for the common of our (my adopted) country and people.

  12. “Not a single soul in the gathering of several hundred people championed the case for the BBL’s passage. Not one congressman who was there said he will vote for the measure when the time comes for a vote.”

    This piece of news is most heartening. Our congress should really stand up against this Abnoy who thinks only he is the government of the Phil. Imagine, he promised Iqbal that the BBL will pass the 2 houses of Congress and the Supreme Court, as though he holds our tripartite govt in the palm of his hand.

    Our Congressmen and Senators should put this Abnoy in his place. That he cannot dictate to both houses what he wants. The people do not want the BBL. They do not want their country dismembered nor their Constitution defiled. The BBL MUST NOT PASS.

    • Money is about to do its straight path onto these legislators’ pockets once again. All those re – positioning are just to increase the ante. What have we got here?

  13. Alejo Rosete on

    Retain the ARMM and strengthen it for the good of the Filipino people

    Justice Manuel Lazaro, please file a suit to the SUPREME COURT
    this BS Aquino will bribe again the members of congress to pass
    it like what it did to the RH law and the Impeachment of Chief
    Justice Corona.

    This administration is noted for bribery. Do not allow it
    Justice Manuel Lazaro

  14. Ang hari ng kadiliman ay kumikilos at ang bawat makausap ay nangingig at na naniklohod na sumusunod,hindi dapat umasa ang taong bayan sa supreme court dahil ang mga alagad nito ay nasa loob na!
    Lalo na kapag nagbotohan na,
    Ano mayroon at gaano kalaki ang pakinabang ni Aquino,upang kahit ilang araw lang na pag-aralan ay ayaw niyang mangyari!anong mawawala kay Aquino kung itama ang maraming mali?
    Mala Lucifer ang utak nito!lahat ng mga tao ay itinuturing niyang walang sibli at siya lang ang tama!
    Sobra ang pagka-tuta nito sa US at Malaysia!
    Paano pipigilin ang hari ng DAP?

  15. P.Akialamiro on

    The way the BBL is being rushed for approval mentioning about a deadline by Malacanang, seems to indicate that there was a previous consensus between the opposing negotiating panels. And, in essence, those agreements were just put in writing in the BBL.Of course, with the blessings of Malaysia. With such agreement, approval was assured by Malacanang that to have the agreement rejected would be tantamount to reneging on its the Aquino government. This points to the ‘wild’ ambition of Pres. B.S. Aquino of having forged a peace agreement which none of his predecessors has ever done; an agreement with many compromises at the expense of the Constitution and the Philippines as a country.

    In short, the move of Malacanang is a “saving face” for the president.