Celso’s voice silenced  PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 02 May 2018 13:33

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

San Jose, CA. — I have full admiration for the legal and logical stance taken by Mr. Celso L. Lobregat (PDP-Laban), first district representative, on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) that, if passed, will abolish the present Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and create, if ratified, a new ARMM that will, according to the framers of the comprehensive peace agreement, bring lasting peace in Mindanao — that elusive quest.

Mr. Lobregat’s extensive legal research and pointed geographical conflicts that present constitutional violations were gunned down - killed - by the sub-committees that conducted hearings on the proposed BBL in key cities and provinces in Mindanao. That means that the unconstitutional provisions of the BBL were completely ignored even by the legal luminaries in the sub-committees and endorsed its passage as directed (daw) by El Presidente.

Mr. Lobregat’s efforts to stop the bleeding to prevent the outright death of democracy is dead, thanks to the people who disrespect the 1987 Constitution by installing their self-styled “law”.

Based on Lobregat’s press release written by one Dexter Yap, he has pledged to take the fight at the doorsteps of congress his legal arguments against certain provisions of the BBL after the three sub-committees that were formed to review the BBL formally endorsed the draft law. Mr. Lobregat is so disgusted that none of the unconstitutional provisions that he pointed out in the proposed ARMM law was considered after 11 grueling, expensive public consultations and 22 committee hearings.

So, on May 15, upon the resumption of the regular session of the House of Representatives, Mr. Lobregat and other dissenting members of the three committees, will take the podium to denounce the shotgun endorsement of the proposed BBL law during plenary.

Speaking in Chavacano, Mr. Lobregat said, and I quote what Mr. Yap wrote: “Ya habla yo si ansina lang man gale el resulta, apruva lang sin cambio ni uno del maga propueste BBL version, porque pa ya man committee hearings y porque pa ya man meeting para proposed amendments, when in the end no amendment was approved? Sayang el tiempo y gastos del govierno.”

Two of the three House panels last Monday approved proposed House Bill 6475 seeking to provide for the basic law for the new, more powerful, better financed ARMM that will abolish the Cory Aquino-created ARMM as defined by the 1987 constitution. The House committee on Muslim affairs voted 5-3 and the special committee on peace, unity and reconciliation voted 6-4 to endorse the passage of HB 6475. The committee on local government voted against the bill. Mr. Lobregat said that House Deputy Speaker Bai Sandra Sema raised the motion to endorse HB 6475 authored by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez which is, as Mr. Lobregat asserted, the same BBL version submitted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) to Congress for approval during the incumbency of Pres. Noynoy Aquino.

Maybe, El Presidente’s lackeys could have misunderstood or misinterpreted the marching orders of Malacanang and Davao. What El Presidente wanted, according to Mr. Lobregat, is for Congress to hasten the passage of the BBL, but to erase the unconstitutional provisions of the bill.

The way I see it, if Mr. Lobregat and the “nays” fail to stop the BBL from passing in its present, legally-defective form in the House and the Senate, they will elevate the matter to the embattled Supreme Court, just as Mr. Lobregat, Mayor Climaco-Salazar and Mr. Erbie Fabian brought before the high tribunal the proposed Bangsamoro Juridical Entity/Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain, a proposed peace treaty by the Arroyo administration and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) which was to have been signed in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and witnessed by no less than the American ambassador to the Philippines. (Makes one wonder if the fingerprints of the U.S. are on this proposed BBL.)

So, now, we’re back to square zero. But this BBL is not as alarming as the proposed federal-parliamentary constitution. The soon-to-be named highly-urbanized Federal independent city of Zamboanga will most likely be lumped with Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi and in danger of being part of the ARMM Federal Region, a political dimension that Zamboanga has voted against many times in as many referenda.

That should worry Mr. Lobregat. Being a new member of the PDP-Laban, will he tow the line of El Presidente?