From The Standard (Jan 6): Govt eyeing constitutional amendments for Bangsamoro
THE government is eyeing possible constitutional amendments to accommodate adjustments to the new Bangsamoro enabling law, Peace Process Secretary Jesus Dureza said Friday.
Dureza told a television interview this could be a “way forward” to address the aspirations of the Bangsamoro should the new arrangements be perceived as “not constitutionally compliant...”
Dureza added amending the 1987 Constitution might be the way to go, as the roadmap of the Duterte administration leads to shifting to a federal form of government.
“[At] the end of the Duterte roadmap, it’s actually federalism. And in federalism you really have to amend the Constitution,” he said.
On Dec. 30, Dureza announced that President Rodrigo Duterte was set to name this month the 21 individuals who would compose the new and expanded Bangsamoro Transition Commission.
In an earlier statement, Dureza noted the existing Philippine Constitution had become a “stumbling block” in effectively negotiating peace with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines/Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Moro National Liberation Front.
“If you talk with the CPP and even the Bangsamoro they will never admit and agree that they will be circumscribed by a Constitution or by our laws,” Dureza said.
He added all agreements previously signed with the major rebel forces made no reference to the Philippine Constitution.
“We always refer to international laws and protocols,” he added.
Dureza had earlier stressed that federalism might be a mechanism to correct the “wrongdoings” of the government against the Bangsamoro people and other indigenous groups [in Mindanao].
In the same interview, Dureza said the selection of members of the BTC might be done on Jan. 21.
Dureza said the failure of Congress to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law could be attributed to some perceived unconstitutionality of some of the provisions of the proposed bill.
Instead of refiling an improved version of BBL, Dureza said the contentious provisions of the BBL could be included in a proposed new charter.
Amending or writing a new charter could also accelerate the peace negotiations with the NDF, Dureza added.
Created through Executive Order No. 8 signed by Duterte on Nov. 7, The BTC is one of the mechanisms under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro signed by the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which would be the basis for drafting an enabling law that would establish and put to work the envisioned Bangsamoro political entity.
The new entity will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.