by Former Senator Atty. Rene Espina
September 20, 2014
Now that the proposed Bangsamoro law has been submitted to Congress, let me again as in the past repeat what I had previously written. And as the legislative process in Congress moves on I shall continue to make comments. For all intents and purposes, because of the way the proposed law was drafted favoring the MILF against all other ethnic groups that inhabit the said area, the law might as well be called the Bangsa MILF Law.
For non lawyers, let us define what a state is. It is: a) It is the power or authority represented by a body of people politically organized under one government, especially an independent government, within a territory or territories having definite boundaries. b) The political organization constituting the basis of civil government – (dictionary definition).
The essentials of a state are territory, government, people, and sovereignty. A cursory examination of the BBL shows that a well-defined territory (which is a big expansion of the present Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao-ARMM) is proposed. The regional government is the proposed Bangsamoro entity. And the people are the proposed Bangsamoro people. The word Bangsamoro is a new and artificial creation which was invented by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). As I have said before, in the autonomous area there are ethnic groups called Tausugs, Maranaws, Maguinadanaoans, Yakans, and others who are not Muslims/Moros. I certainly believe that in the creation of a new name for these ethnic group, there must be some not-so-hidden agenda. This objective can be found in the various statements that the MILF leaders have said time and again: “That they have not given up on their ideology, that the Bangsamoro people have a right to determine their own future.” When Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak was in Malacanang to witness the formal signing of the PHL Bangsamoro Agreement, (in his short remarks) he said that “the agreement was an admission by the Philippine government of the right of the Bangsamoro to determine their own future.”
As this article is being written Scotland, is having a referendum on whether its people wants to be independent of the United Kingdom.
It is also interesting to note that in the proposed BBL, the form of the regional autonomous government would be parliamentary in character with the Chief Minister as head of government. This set up is similar to the nature of the government of Sabah. Of course, the Malaysian government had absolutely nothing to do with it. It was just plain coincidence worthy to be referred to the Marines.
Again is it mere coincidence that the relationship between the proposed Bangsamoro region and the Philippine government is stated as “asymmetric”? Asymmetric is defined as a lack of symmetry. Symmetrical means having or showing symmetry, similarity of form or arrangement on either side of a dividing line; or plain correspondence of opposite parts in size, shape and position, the whole or parts are said to have symmetry.
In the discussions about asymmetrical relations, the word “Sub State” somehow cropped up to describe the relationship between the Philippine government and “Bangsamoro entity.” It must be because the MILF’s ultimate objective is “to determine their own future.” How? By a declaration of independence? By exercising what they claim as their “right to self determination”?
I forewarn our “honorable” members of Congress and other government officials to carefully study the implications of the law that will establish the Bangsa MILF. Lack of focus, misplaced good faith, naivety, and other motives might result in consequences that can one day (before the verdict of history) prove that their actions were those of traitors. I hope this will never happen.