UPDATED as of 7:20 a.m. 14 Jan 2015
DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/13 Jan) – Mindanao’s lone Cardinal is grateful to the surviving members of the 1986 Constitutional Commission (ConCom) that drafted the 1987 Constitution for their “timely, remarkable and positive support of the BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law),” referring to the statement the group issued last week (see other story)
“Thanks very much,” Cardinal Orlando B. Quevedo, OMI, the Archbishop of Cotabato, said.
“I hope the daily papers and broadcast media will disseminate the statement,” Quevedo told MindaNews in a text message from Manila.
Government peace panel chair Miriam Coronel-Ferrer also thanked the framers for their “goodwill and wisdom.”
She said their statement “brought us back to our core aspirations: stop the war in Mindanao, realize meaningful autonomy for the region, and deliver social justice through political and economic reforms. If we don’t lose sight of these basics, we will find good ways to ensure the passage of the BBL and bring life to new institutions and not be stomped by obstacles along the way.”
Mohagher Iqbal, chair of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace panel and concurrent chair of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), the 15-member body that drafted the BBL, told MindaNews: “The 14 men who signed the document are not ordinary personalities. They know the spirit of the Constitution. Many of them like (Fr. Joaquin) Bernas, (former Comelec chair and Supreme Court Chief Hilario) Davide, (former Commission on Elections chair Christian) Monsod, are institutions by themselves. Their statement is a morale booster to those who support the BBL.”
Fourteen of 18 surviving members of the 48-member Constitutional Commission that was tasked to draft what would become the 1987 Constitution issued a statement dated January 9 but released only on January that “Bangsamoro is about the development of people, not about the constitutionality of words” as they also expressed they “fully support the creation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region” as its importance to the future of the country is “unprecedented both as an unfulfilled promise and as a model of equitable autonomy.”
Guiamel Alim, founder and member of the Council of Elders of the Consortium of Bagnsamoro Civil Society (CBCS) said the framers’ statement “makes sense because the Bangsamoro is for human development and not words of constitutionality.”
The proposed law, he said, “should be seen as a solution to historical injustice and a valid response to the legitimate grievances of the Bangsamoro.”
Mary Ann Arnado of the Mindanao Peoples Caucus hopes the statement would be “taken very seriously by Congress.”
“This should enlighten those who are questioning the BBL on constitutional issues. Congress should respond to the ConCom’s call for courageous statesmanship,” she said.
Benedicto Bacani, founding director of the Cotabato City-based Institute of Autonomy and Governance and a member of the Panel of Independent Lawyers that helped the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) in threshing out contentious issues in August and September last year, said the statement is “a big boost to the cause of the BBL from the framers of the 1987 Constitution who say that the spirit and intent of the Constitution is to evolve genuine and meaningful autonomy to address the Mindanao conflict.”
Gus Miclat, Executive Director of the Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID) said “Who best to interpret the Constitution but those who framed it? Thus, this should put to rest questions and fears about the constitutionality of both the CAB and the BBL. Those who will still insist otherwise are clearly opposed for other, if not, vested reasons and have lost any ascendancy in using the Constitution in buttressing their claims.” (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)