There has been ceaseless attacks made by certain Senators in Congress against the BBL or Bangsamoro Basic Law, which aims to establish an autonomous Islamic State in the Mindanao region.  This started after the Mamasapano Tragedy which prompted legislators to suspend the then ongoing deliberation on the proposed law  purportedly to shed light on the whys and wherefores of the bungled military operation in Maguindanao.   Certain voices have come to prominence and  in increasing volume and intensity have questioned the  peace  process.  In the lower house of Congress more raucous opposition to the BBL’s  was also observed.

But the anti-MILF line articulated by Cayetano and the two other Senators who have  enjoyed wide media coverage has aroused latent anti-Muslim biases and prejudices among the Christian population.     In the social media as in other public forums  unrelenting  anti-Moro sentiments came to the fore.  This anti-Moro phenomenon reminiscent of the 1970s, shortly before Martial Law has alarmed not a few concerned citizens, especially cause-oriented people and institutions in Mindanao.  In this column, no less, in the wake of this dismaying incidence, could be read a strong reaction to the growing Christian chaunvinist  tirades  against the Bangsamoro people of Mindanao.

In face of this imbroglio, the peace process initiated by the Aquino government suffered a serious  setback , it is doubtful if  it can survive the critical offensives.

Among all the counter-voices to the BBL, Senator Allan Peter Cayetano  has been the most harsh and blustering, to the extent that his  utterances have been interpreted by many as patently anti-Muslim.  After him as the leading opponent to the BBL, Senator Francis Escudero  ranks second as the most pointedly vocal, although  Senator Bongbong Marcos is not far behind in his sharp verbal thrusts.  These three Senators who constitute the anti-BBL triumvirate  in the incumbent Philippine Senate  have not failed to elicit pros and cons  among the similarly divided populace in so far as the peace  process is concerned.

Their verbal tirades, however, have been all aimed at the  government  chief  peace negotiators Ferrer and Deles.  It makes us wonder why the progenitor of the BBL—President Noynoy Aquino himself—is being spared by the Senate triumvirate.  And to think that it is Noynoy who has been delivering gospel-speeches endorsing in consistently determined  accent the importance and necessity  of the proposed law as the keytone of the peace process.   At one point the President dangles a masked threat to the members of Congress, that if the BBL fails to hurdle the much-needed approval, they have to have “the body bags ready”.

Why not these brilliant lawmakers prick their probing needles at the Chief architect of the peace process?  Why?  Why not take to task Mr. Noynoy himself?   Is the President in the perception of the good Senators  less  responsible for  the infirmities that they  have discovered in the proposed law?  And if they attribute the flaws  in the conduct of the peace process to the  tragedy in Mamasapano, do they find the chief executive guiltless or  free from any liability and accountability for its tragic outcome?  Don’t they find the Mamasapano Incident an inevitable consequence of Mr. Noynoy’s ineptness and incompetence?  And if they  do, then why don’t they challenge him in the most valiant fashion they can muster?  Is their macho valor fit only for the lesser in political stature, such as female agents of the top gun in the helm of power?  Is the thorny-tongued Cayetano that shy and timid in front of a Noynoy Aquino?

The Makabayan Bloc in Congress, have advanced certain questions for President Noynoy Aquino to answer honestly and above board.   Among these, if truthfully revealed  would have dispelled doubts about who made the “Stand Down Order” to the AFP contingent and why it was ordered.   Another vital question which the President would have clarified is about suspended General Allan Purisima’s participation and ‘commanding role’ in the Oplan Exodus. And over and above all, as chief executive and commander-in-chief who is at the top of everything that the State  security  forces are  made to undertake  under his over-all command would have disclosed  the role and participation of the US government  and  its  agents  in the botched Oplan Exodus.  Why is he mum about this?   Being fully knowledgeable of  the US role and participation why  in heaven’s name did he allow such interventionist act to happen.(?)

If President Noynoy answered these very vital queries of the Makabayan Bloc  of  legislators  he would have rendered full justice to the Fallen 44 and the entire  nation who have heretofore demanded full  justice and unqualified truth to the Mamasapano Tragedy.  Moreover, he would have cleared the minds of all and sundry about the viability and the reasonableness of the BBL which is his brainchild.  And could  have possibly  prized him with a Nobel Peace Award as originally contemplated (sic).

Why do the three  young Senators seem  heedless of  these concerns of the Makabayan Bloc? Why don’t they register their support to the queries presented to the progenitor himself of the peace process?  Instead of  focusing on their perceived shortcomings  and  missteps of the government chief  negotiating agents, why don’t they confront directly the President?   Is this not a despicable  way of deflecting their target to the more vulnerable and less powerful?—the pawns?— the complicit agents, rather than  the principal?    Is this not a manifest act of bullying?  Or grandstanding, to say the  very  least?  Bullying, the psychologists would opine, is essentially “cowardice”It is a yellow brand of  “ power role-play”  no less despicable than the  attitude called machismo or male-chauvinism.

The continuing debate on the BBL can only make headway and clear the way to its logical conclusion, if the  probe on the Mamasapanao Tragedy hitherto wrapped in murky half-truths and unresolved issues is put to the light of day.  For as long as the chief architect of the peace process who is at the same time  the commander-in-chief of the Oplan Exodus refuses to reconcile the seemingly disparate components of  an unfortunate adventure, then the BBL Debate will continue without principled foundation and will proceed  in unsteady steps  in the  midst of dimly lighted pathways.

The three young Senators, if they are sincere in putting the BBL on the railway track  must take to task the President himself  and  join and heed the principled concerns of the Makabayan Bloc  in order for full justice and truth to reign supreme.  On these two concerns hinges a viable and principled peace in Mindanao.  Not  a kind of peace founded on the stale fruit of prevarications and half-truths and deceptions.

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