MANILA (Mabuhay) – Former Chief Justice Reynato Puno believes the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law is creating a no-win situation that will cause trouble in the country whether or not it is passed by Congress.
Puno said there are only two likely scenarios that would happen with the BBL.
One scenario is if Congress decides to push through with the passage of the law. If that happens, Puno said there would still be violence in Mindanao “because the BBL is not inclusive.”
On the other hand, if Congress rejects the bill or if the Supreme Court declares the BBL unconstitutional, there would still be violence caused by Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels who are pushing for the bill’s passage.
Puno said he sees problems with the current approach to the BBL, which is to determine whether or not it is unconstitutional.
“Ang dapat tingnan bakit nagkaroon tayo ng ganyang problema. Ano ang cause? Ang cause ay ang maling balance ng power na ibigay ng Constitution between the national government and the local government including the [Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao],” he said.
Both houses of Congress are pressed for time to pass the law, which seeks to reinforce the peace agreement forged between the government and the MILF, before they go on recess on June 10.
Puno said that under the Constitution, the proposed Bangsamoro territory cannot go beyond the limits of autonomy.
He said what the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao actually needs is both self-rule and shared rule.
“That can only be done if we change the structure of our Constitution from a unitary government that is a presidential form to a federal form of government,” he said.
Puno is set to lead the soft launch of a new movement named “Bagong Sistema, Bagong Pagasa: An Advocacy for System Change” in the next few weeks, where he would call on the President to form a constitutional convention to study changes in the Constitution simultaneous with the 2016 elections. A formal launch is set on or before President Benigno Aquino III delivers his last State of the Nation Address in July.
The former chief justice said a constitutional convention can address other problems in the country such as political dynasties, poverty, unequal wealth distribution, corruption and many others.
He said delegates of the constitutional convention can be chosen during the 2016 elections.
“We have to break that dilemma of a no-win situation. We need another platform to discuss this problem and that platform is a constitutional convention,” he said. (MNS)