I. Leadership Strength Indicator (Continuation)
GENERAL SANTOS CITY, May 29, 2016 – Yesterday, we showed that the LP-led Coalition in the House of Representatives has a clear majority to pass SB 4994, the Draft BBL, as revised and approved last May 20. In the Senate, the Coalition is short of two members to have a simple majority; however, with proper leadership, senators outside of the UNA-led opposition bloc can be won over into the Coalition to pass administration pet legislation.
We asked: Can the President whip up the support of the LP-led coalitions in the Senate and the House to pass the BBL in time for the establishment of the Bangsamoro before he steps down on June 30, 2016?
As Shown in AHCBBL
As already stated, the AHCBBL has 98 members – 75 regular members, 65 district and ten party-list representatives; and, 23 ex-officio members, the House Speaker, majority and minority leaders and all their deputies. How are they distributed geographically and politically?
- Of the entire 98 membership, 68 (69.39%) are from Mindanao; 30 (31.11%) are not from Mindanao.
- Of the regular 75 membership, 65 (86.67%) are from Mindanao; 10 (13.33%) are not from Mindanao.
There is a potential bias in favor of the BBL – clear majority of members from Mindanao.
- Of the entire 98 membership, 61 (63.24%) belong to the LP-led coalition; 21 (21.13%), to the other parties; and 16 (16.33%), to the party-lists.
- Of the regular 75 membership, 46 (61,33%) belong to the LP-led coalition; 19 (23.33%), to other parties; and 10 (13.33%), to the party-lists.
There are 59 district and nine party-list representatives from Mindanao. One of the 59 and two of the nine are ex-officio members. The other 57 district and six party-list representatives from Mindanao are among the 75 regular members. Rep. Florencio T. Flores Jr., MD, of the second district of Bukidnon and one other from the party-list are not AHCBBL members. (See: MindaNews, May 18, 2015: BBL’s fate in the hands of 98 reps, most of them from Mindanao and Official List of House representatives of the Sixteenth Congress.)
There is a potential bias in favor of the BBL – clear majority of the LP-led coalition.
How they voted last May 20:
For brevity, the whole 98-member AHCBBL is referred to as AHC-98; the 23-member ex-officio AHCBBL, AHC-23; and the 75-member regular AHCBBL, AHC-75.
In AHC-98, 50 (51.02%) voted YES — 40 from AHC-75, 10 from AHC-23; 17 (17.35%) voted NO — 11 from AHC-75, 6 from AHC-23; one ABSTAINED; and, 30 (30.61%) were ABSENT — 24 from AHC-75, 6 from AHC-23.
In AHC-75, voting YES wereC-HHHH 28 (37.33%) from LP-led Coalition –24 LP, 2 NP, 2 NPC; 7 (9.33%) from other parties; and, 5 (6.67%) from the party-lists. That’s 53.33 percent voting YES.
Voting NO were 4 (5.33%) from LP-led Coalition – no LP, one NP, three NPC; 4 from other parties; 3 (4%) from the party-lists. That’s 13.33 percent voting NO.
ABSENT were 14 (18.67) from LP-led Coalition – 8 LP, 4 NP, 3 NPC; 8 (10.67%) from other parties; and, 2 (2.67%) from the party-lists. That’s 32 percent ABSENT.
In the ARMM, all 8 (7 LP, 1 NUP) district representatives of the five provinces and two cities voted YES.
In the Area of Autonomy covered by the 1976 Tripoli Agreement, excluding Davao del Sur and Palawan, there are now 27 district representatives. Of these, voting YES were 14 from LP-led Coalition (12 LP, 1 NP, 1 NPC) and none from the other parties; voting NO were two from LP-led Coalition (no LP, one each from NP and NPC) and two from the other parties; ABSENT were seven from LP-led Coalition (2 LP, 1 NP, 4 NPC) and two from the other parties. In capsule: 14 YES; 4 NO; 9 ABSENT.
The votes represent the acceptance (yes), rejection (no), reservation (abstain), or no interest (absent) of the AHCBBL members on the committee report being voted upon. Known as the “Chairman’s and Vice Chairman’s Draft” (CVCD), the May 20 voting was on the Committee-Palace draft – otherwise known as “Malacanang version” — done after the House and Committee leaders met with the President on May 15.
The CVCD is a revision of the original Draft BBL. In voting, the AHCBBL members must have greatly considered how close to the original Draft was CVCD. Of course, their political alignment, interest for peace in Mindanao and personal biases significantly influenced how they voted.
What are significant in the May 20 voting?
First, the ratio of 66 (67.35%) Mindanaons to 32 (32.65%) non-Mindanoans in AHC-98 was not representative of the regional profile of the 291 membership of the House. The same is true with the ratio in ACH-75 – 63 (84%) to 12 (16%). The passing of CVCD was mainly the act of Mindanaons.
Second, the passing of the CVCD in AHC-98 cannot be an indicator of an assurance the same will happen in 291-member House. Note well: In the AHC-98, the Mindanaons voted 60.6% (40 of 66) YES; the non-Mindanaons, only 31.25% (10 of 32). This reflects opposite concerns.
Third, the LP-led Coalition carried the bigger load of vote but not enough to pass. In ACH-75, of the 53.33 percent YES, only 37.33 percent is from LP-led coalition; without the 9.33 percent from Other Parties, and 6.67 percent from Party-Lists, YES could have lost. President Aquino III cannot rely on his LP-led Coalition.
Fourth, the ABSENT is more of the problem, than the NO. In the AHC-98, the ABSENT is 30.61 percent to the 17.35 percent of the NO; in the AHC-75, it is 32 percent to 13.13 percent. The President must look into this among his LP-led coalition for it has a higher percentage of ABSENT than either the Other Parties or the Party-Lists.
Fifth, all eight district representatives from the ARMM provinces and two cities voted YES. If this reflects the sentiments of their constituents, excluding the Moro rebel and radical organizations, the Moros accept the CVCD no matter how it might have departed from the original Draft BBL with hope it will bring them peace and prosperity.
Sixth, in the Area of Autonomy under the 1976 Tripoli Agreement excluding Davao del Sur and Palawan – the Muslim Autonomy that MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari is still demanding – the 51.85 percent YES (14 out of 27) means the rejection of CVCD by the Christian majority. Of the Christian districts, only six voted YES against 13 that were NO or ABSENT.
Less the eight Moro VOTE, the YES in the 19 districts is 31.58 percent (6 out of 19); the NO (4) and the ABSENT (9) are 68.42 percent. These can mean partly rejection of the “opt-in” provision regardless of the self-defeating stipulations.
In AHC-98, the 61 LP-led Coalition alone could have passed CVCD with 62.24 percent YES; it only turned out 23.6 percent. The 37 from Other Parties and Party-List could not have defeated CVCD with their potential vote of 37.76 percent.
Alone, the LP-led coalition can pass HB 4994 – now the CVCD Malacañang Version — in the coming plenary vote; but by default, the LP-led Coalition can kill it.
The 23.6 percent YES turn-out of the LP-led coalition in AHC-98 is an alarm call for the President and the House LP-led leaders to work – not only double-time and doubly hard – to rally their own people to pass HB 4994. Victory, like charity, begins at home.
More alarming must be the prospects in the Senate. There the LP-led Coalition is not only the minority but its members are in the forefront of the move to drastically revise Draft BBL, the SB 2408. In media reports (May 27 and 28), twelve of the fourteen members of the Santiago Committee have signed the Committee report to overhaul Draft BBL to make it conform to the 1987 Constitution. Six of the twelve are Coalition members with a seventh set to sign.
Against the Tide
The President has a plan to talk to the senators like what he did with the House leaders. He is being warned of the backlash if he does – not by the opposition but by a leading member of the Coalition. Will he relent or forge ahead?
Before making his final option, he should spur the House leaders to unite the LP-led Coalition to safely bring ashore H|B 4994 nee Draft BBL a.k.a CVCD a.k.a. Malacañang Version. This will be a vital and decisive talking point with the senators.
(To Be Continued)