red.antDarlan Palencia Barcelon

Uphold the Constitution

The leadership of Moro Islamic Liberation Front [MILF] is consistently showing their willfulness by demanding the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law without amendments from its original form. They are consistently rejecting any  proposed legislative amendments on the Bangsamoro Basic Law, as proposed by Senator Ferdnand R. Marcos, Jr.

The Marcos proposal for amendment that will insert  corrective measures is unacceptable to Mohagher Iqbal, the Chief negotiator of MILF.

Although he admitted that the Senate possesses such power, however, he is adamant in rejecting outright the “Marcos proposal”. The reason is obvious – Iqbal’s mind is full of malice and mistrust on the gentleman from Ilocos Norte’s amendment on their  proposed [BBL] bill.

Among the contentious issue being raised is the granting of parliamentary powers to the Bangsamoro the right to share in the region’s natural resources with the national government.

He [Iqbal] opines that the crafted bill was a result of the aspirations or the consensus of the majority from the MILF side, thereby questioning the wisdom of Marcos’ lone proposal to amend the proposed bill, because Iqbal is insisting  on the retention of the original version, pattern on their own modality.

This is a way of saying in Filipino; “Kung ayaw mo, Huwag mo.” attitude. His posture is laced with a parochial and renegade thinking.

His assertiveness might be good for the Bangsamoro, however, toeing the hardline position on the “no amendment” on the wealth sharing scheme being proferred by the MILF is highly contentious. Under the 1987 constitution this is highly illegal.

The provision of wealth sharing under the constitution is well defined. This can only be change to fit to their demands, is by amending the 1987 constitution first.

It is but natural to have such stand on the negotiating table in order to establish a parameter of negotiation, however, it is always incumbent upon on both sides to respect the constitution, including  the president of the Philippine Republic, to be conscious enough in upholding the Constitution – above anything else.

It is also true, that prior implementation of  the Bangsamoro Basic Law – if it will be enacted by the House of Congress, there is a need first to abolish Republic Act No. 6734.

This is the law that provided the constitutional mandate by the 1987 constitution to create the Organic Act for Muslim Mindanao. Replacing the Organic Act needs an amendment in part of the 1987 constitution, because the law that created the ARMM was among the salient portion of the Freedom constitution.

Although the incumbent President has unabashedly and  nastily called the Republic Act No. 6734, the law that created ARMM as a “failed experiment”,  this can not be taken as a legal opinion coming from the president himself. 1987 constitution is much higher Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III.

Who does not yearn for a just and lasting Peace? Everyone deserves to exist in a liveable  community and to be free from hostilities. In this negotiation, both the MILF and the GRP panelists must focus on the issue of constitutionality  in the bargaining table.

The MILF  can not just demand on what they want to achieve the greater autonomy they wanted to realize, because the only constitution that could give that demand constitutionally, is the 1987 Philippine Constitution – not even their passionate dream of a free Islamic State nor  the Malaysian constitution.


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