MILF thinks it negotiated with the totality of Phl gov’t — Celso PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 10 March 2015 15:01

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) believes that when it negotiated with the government peace panel for the ultimate creation of a Bangsamoro territory, it was their understanding that it was negotiating with the totality of the Philippine government or the whole of government including the different branches of government.

Rep. Rodolfo Biazon of Muntinlupa revealed this during the March 2 session in Congress when he delivered a privilege speech on the BBL issue. He was engaged in an enlightening and enriching interpellation by District I Representative Celso Lobregat.

Lobregat said this MILF manifestation is formalized in a letter dated Dec. 29, 2014 and signed by MILF chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim and submitted to the House Ad Hoc Committee on the BBL in one of the last hearings in the Halls of Congress. Lobregat asked “who gave the MILF this understanding?”

With this assertion from the MILF, there is a seeming understanding among the MILF panel that Congress or other branches of government will have to follow what is stated in the agreements.

Based on the letter, it is the belief of the MILF that the commander in chief powers of the president “allow him to bind the whole of government including its different branches of government,” both Lobregat and Biazon attested.

Amidst MILF speculations that the proposed BBL now pending in Congress is a “watered down version”, Lobregat said a comprehensive study of the CAB and the FAB and all the annexes show that no provision in the BBL is missing. “So I don’t see how can this be a watered down version, in fact, there is something missing in the BBL- and these are the provisions on normalization and decommissioning.”

As this developed, Biazon said in the resumption of the BBL discussion in the House of Representatives, the Ad Hoc Committee chaired by Cong. Rufus Rodriguez should ask for a presentation of the decommissioning agreement that the government peace panel and the MILF panel signed in Kuala Lumpur recently in order for the house members to examine the intended programs.

The upcoming election period in relation to the 2016 national and local elections is another concern that should be explained by the Commission on Elections, Biazon and Lobregat asserted.

Biazon said COMELEC officials should also be invited to the Ad Hoc committee meeting to explain as to what happens to the firearms of the MILF when the plebiscite is conducted and when the Bangsamoro is converted into a political party and fields its own candidates for the 2016 polls for the and the proposed BBL is not yet approved.

Lobregat volunteered the information that it is most likely that when the plebiscite is held, given the schedule of decommissioning in the CAB and the FAB, 70 percent of the firearms will still be in the MILF possession.

Both Lobregat and Biazon declared that the proposed BBL should pass the scrutiny of the constitution and other existing laws and that it should be acceptable to all groups and sectors not only in Mindanao but in Luzon and the Visayas.

Meanwhile, Biazon’s privilege speech and the interpellation with Cong. Lobregat were submitted to the House Committee on Rules. — Jubels Santos