POSTSCRIPT / April 2, 2015 / Thursday


Opinion Columnist

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Noy agreed to amend Constitution for MILF

AMEND IF NEEDED: On record, President Noynoy Aquino knows that the federal-type Bangsamoro that he had promised the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to supplant the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao is, or could be, unconstitutional.

When Mr. Aquino authorized his varsity team to sign the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) on Oct. 7, 2012, he – through them, his agents — committed in writing to amend of the Constitution when it gets in the way.

In Article VII of that FAB, the parties agreed to form a Transition Commission one of whose functions is “To work on proposals to AMEND THE PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION for the purpose of accommodating and entrenching in the Constitution the agreements of the Parties whenever necessary without derogating from any prior peace agreements.”

* * *

MILF MAJORITY: On his inauguration on June 30, 2010, President Aquino took a solemn oath to “preserve and defend the Constitution.”

Turning his back on that vow two years later, he committed under the FAB to amend the Constitution when it conflicts with the framework for establishing the Bangsamoro.

Instead of tailoring his contract with the MILF to the provisions of the Constitution, the President agreed to tweak, to amend, the Charter to suit the wishes of the secessionist MILF!

Per agreement, btw, the Transition Commission shall be composed of 15 members all of whom must be Bangsamoro. Seven of them shall be selected by Malacañang, but the majority of eight members, including the Chairman, shall be picked by the MILF.

* * *

UPGRADE ARMM INSTEAD: It has become a source of wonder why Mr. Aquino has gone to great lengths trying to appease the MILF when that rebel band by itself does not hold the key to the peace in Mindanao.

The 7,000-strong MILF, a break-away faction of the older Moro National Liberation Front, has never proved itself to be the sole and legitimate voice of the Muslim population of some 8 million.

If there is any set of leaders democratically selected by the people of Muslim Mindanao, it is the duly elected officials of the ARMM, the area eyed as the demographic core of the projected Bangsamoro.

Why is Mr. Aquino pushing the country to the brink of war by forcing the carving out of a constitutionally challenged Bangsamoro — instead of working within the parameters of the ARMM and nursing it to acceptable levels of economic health?

* * *

WHIM VS LAW: How can presidential whim be superior to a constitutional mandate?

Mr. Aquino has conveniently and arbitrarily pronounced the ARMM as a “failed experiment”. But , Sir, the ARMM was not an experiment. It was a regular creation by the joint act of the Congress and the Executive in obedience to the Constitution.

At the very least, Mr. Aquino should have told the nation the parameters of that “experiment” and presented the data showing how that experiment failed.

The gun freak in the Palace, meanwhile, has reduced the Bangsamoro debate into a simplistic proposition of War vs Peace, deviously implying that those who oppose the BBL want war. Give Muslims self-rule or count body bags, he warns.

The same dire warnings have been aired by his Best Friends Forever in Malaysia. Coincidence?

* * *

ELEMENTS OF STATE: If scare tactics and warmongering are the order of the day, let us add fuel to the fire by warning that the creation of an Islamic state using the breakaway disposition of the MILF could produce a separatist state leaning toward the Malaysian federation.

Under the blueprint made in Kuala Lumpur with the connivance of the Malacañang panel (not the Philippine government) the upcoming Bangsamoro will be given all the essential elements of a state to enable it to break away from the Philippine Republic.

Through the BBL, Mr. Aquino would make good his promise to give the MILF a defined TERRITORY, a functioning GOVERNMENT and a resident POPULATION, plus other value-added features.

These basic elements, plus RECOGNITION by the community of nations could launch eventually the Bangsamoro as an independent state.

* * *

FOREIGN MEDDLING: Recognition is a cinch, because a long line of administrations, by design or out of ignorance, has internationalized what is actually a domestic conflict.

We have allowed, even invited, foreign governments and leverage institutions to meddle and tell us what to do. Now, with a weak presidency, it seems we can no longer move freely.

The notion of self-determination of peoples is alluring. It is popular in the United Nations swarming with newly emerged states.

An independent Bangsamoro is made more saleable amid claims that Muslims in this dominantly Christian country have been victims of decades-long neglect and discrimination.

What is not being said is that the billions poured by the government to Muslim areas have mostly been pocketed by corrupt leaders to the neglect of their followers.

* * *

TELL THE PEOPLE: As a result of propaganda and power politics, even before they could examine more closely the Bangsamoro framework and its implications, many countries have already fallen for the notion of a peaceful and progressive Moro nation that is self-governing.

Some well-intentioned partners for progress even assisted as midwives in the birth of the Bangsamoro, stood as padrinos at its baptism and are waiting to assist and nurture it to full development.

Among these countries are the United States, the United Kingdom, Malaysia, Australia, Japan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Brunei, Libya, Norway, Indonesia, and some members of the European Union. That number is enough for recognition and eventual statehood.

Also helping along are international non-government organizations such as Conciliation Resources, the Center for Humanitarian Dialogue, the Asia Foundation, Muhamadiyah, the World Bank and other entities in the US sphere of influence.

Under this formidable foreign pressure, what can Malacañang’s student council and varsity team do?

If only Mr. Aquino had the humility and honesty to admit his limitations to the Filipino people and seek their counsel….

(First published in the Philippine STAR of April 2, 2015)

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