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Monday, April 27, 2015

BBL needs to be ratified by our people


By Rod Kapunan
This pretending-to-be-honest government has solicited the support of the self-righteous to set the moral tone for our people to accept the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).  
Prominent leaders from the Church, business community and even those who drafted that shoddy Constitution were urged to lend a helping hand.  Among them were Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle;  Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala; retired Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Divide, Jr.; ambassador to the Vatican and Malta, Howard Dee; Felicitas Aquino-Arroyo; retired Supreme Court Justice Adolfo Azcuna; clerics who served as constitutional commissioners like Bishop Teodoro Bacani and Fr. Joaquin Bernas; socialite Flora del Rosario Braid; Edmund Garcia; Christian Monsod; Jose Luis Martin Gascon; former senator Ricardo Romulo; retired Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento;  Jaime Tadeo; Wilfredo Villacorta;  Bernardo Villegas and Bai Rohaniza Sumndad-Usman. 
While we are not questioning their competence, many Filipinos certainly believe their loyalty is focused on the benefits that await them in exchange for their support.    They were the same people claiming to have restored our so-called democracy and freedom, which as a consequence, resulted in a grave economic disparity in our society, and rendered meaningless their much-ballyhooed democracy and freedom.   Today, corruption is a daily occurrence in the government, and injustice and violence are a way of life.  The handful elite rule us while the overwhelming poor are practically eating dirt, wallowing in such abominable poverty.  
While these lackeys may come out with their so-called learned opinion about the constitutionality of the blueprint that will officially balkanize this country, as usual their foreign brokers like the US, Japan and the United Kingdom are keeping secret their position. They fear that they too could suffer the backlash.   Their opinion can never alter the fact that the BBL needs to be ratified by the people because it is an amendment  of  the  Constitution as it involves a serious matter of ceding our sovereignty over a wide swath of territory.  
The MILF leadership has guaranteed their brokers all the economic benefits and privileges just to support their secessionist plan.  The leading hypocrites give their support for the same political and economic reasons: Its approval would assure them of their continued economic and political relevance.
As I said, however, it is not what these hypocrites say that would determine the fate of the BBL, but what the people decide. 
Maybe that would be possible if the people ratify the BBL, and on that basis, there is no way for us to oppose it.   But the people could sense that  this government is unwilling to submit the BBL for ratification because it knows they will never ratify it.   Some could see that the government is not concerned about the issue of ratification, but the consequence in not having to implement the agreement it signed.  They believe PNoy already committed himself to Malaysia, failing to foresee that it would encounter a hitch that is even threatening to cause a downfall. Its approval by Congress without the ratification of the people  amounts to lighting the wick for an all-out civil war.  
The oligarchy, the corrupt prelates and politicians, and the vacillating middle class alongside the government have committed themselves to approving the BBL.  They are so frantic that they even give themselves a timetable without mentioning the ratification process.   The whole thing has become humiliating.   We continue to ignore rather than react to the insult.  We accommodate these terrorists, treating them as merely seeking to redress the wrongs committed in the past while their leaders exhibit the hubris by not   singing the national anthem or reciting the Panatang Makabayan.   Mohagher  Iqbal  signed the agreement using an alias and our Secretary of Justice, Leila de Lima, and the chief of the Philippine negotiating panel, Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, say the act of bad faith is acceptable  because the use of “nom de guerre” in war is allowed.    Alas, he was not at war when he signed the agreement.   
They also threatened not to accept any modification, amendment or revision to the agreement.  They insist that we take it or leave. Don’t they know that when they allowed the agreement to be submitted to Congress for approval, they in effect recognized its plenary power to amend the provisions?    Now that Congress is determined to introduce amendments to ensure its passage, Iqbal is telling the government that we should be ready with our body bags.  The dilemma for PNoy has deepened because in his attempt to calm down the anger of the people, he initiated an investigation  of what actually happened at Mamasapano  where 44 of our Special Action Force were  butchered. 
The funny thing is that the Department of Justice has come out with a conclusion that murder was committed because some of those killed were already raising their hands to surrender, while Al Haj Murad has declared that MILF will not surrender its men involved in the murder.  The refusal of the MILF to submit to their men to our jurisdiction only serves to highlight the stupidity of the government not anticipating that we would be prosecuting our own men while the other party gets away with the crime they committed in the name of preserving the peace agreement.   
Taken together, the conduct of the MILF indicates that at the outset, it never treated the BBL as an agreement but an act of unconditional surrender.   Interpreted differently, the position of the MILF remains unacceptable that we are being pushed to the wall of having to resolve the impasse through war.  It is compounded by the fact that our  government values more the indirect bribe offered by  Malaysia and their Western partners like the concessions, franchise, investment and partnership lined up for us once we approve the BBL.  
Moreover, the MILF has openly admitted it cannot guarantee peace even if the BBL is approved.  In that, our signing only means the commencement of a new phase of violence.  Already, the Sultan of Sulu and the MNLF are campaigning vigorously to reject the BBL which they see as an authorization given to permanently junk our Sabah claim, which again is an act of  abrogating House Resolution No. 32 approved by Congress on April 24, 1962 or an order for the  government to take steps necessary to recover the territory of Sabah.  In effect, the government that will be installed in the Bangsamoro area would stand as more powerful than Congress for it will be empowered to abrogate  laws passed by Congress. 

rpkapunan@gmail.com

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