MANILA - A Palace official said President Aquino and Moro Islamic Liberation Front Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim continue to trust each other despite delays in the enactment of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. emphasized that despite the delays in the passage of the bill, the two leaders still trust each other.
He noted Aquino’s speech in Japan on Tuesday. There, Aquino said, “My first face-to-face encounter with my brother Chairman Murad, was a breakthrough. And the trust borne of that engagement was a positive turning point as it allowed us to move forward toward the realization of our shared aspirations Malinaw na mataas ang pagtitiwala nilang dalawa sa isa’t isa at hindi ito natitinag simula noong una nilang pag-uusap noong 2011 bagkus nagbunga ito ng ibayo pang pagtitiwala na humantong sa pagbuo ng (Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro) at ng inaasahang pagkumpleto ng proseso ng kapayapaan sa Bangsamoro.”
Aquino addressed a Japan International Cooperation Agency conference on the Bangsamoro in Hiroshima on June 24. Ebrahim was also a guest in the conference.
Ebrahim and Aquino first met in Japan in 2011 to restart the peace negotiations that ultimately led to the signing of the CAB.
Coloma could not say for sure if the delay was discussed during Aquino and Ebrahim’s surprise meeting in Japan.
Some quarters believe getting the draft BBL to conform with the 1987 Constitution is causing the delay in the submission of the bill to Congress.
“It was a one-on-one meeting with no Cabinet members present. As in their previous meetings, it is reasonable to infer that they discussed the progress of the peace process and how this may be brought to full fruition in accordance with the CAB,” Coloma said.
Critics have slammed the CAB as unconstitutional, specifically on the matter of the creation of a separate police force for the Bangsamoro.
“Ang pangunahin at pinakamahalagang konsiderasyon ay iyong pagtitiyak na ito ay naaayon sa Saligang Batas ng Pilipinas at ang pagtitiyak na ito ay mainam na maidedepensa at maipapasa sa dalawang Kamara ng Kongreso,” Coloma said.
“Kaya minamabuti po na gumawa ng isang komprehensibo at masusing pag-aaral at narinig din naman po natin ang pagtitiyak ng mga lider ng Kongreso na kapag ito isinumite na sa takdang panahon, aaksyunan kaagad naman ito at matutupad pa rin iyong inaasam na pagpapasa nito sa isang plebisito,” he added.
Coloma was evasive when it was pointed out that if the bill was really constitutional, then the Palace review would have been quick.
He said the bill has to consider many stakeholders.
“Dalawa kasing panig ang mahalagang stakeholders dito: iyong pamahalaan ng Pilipinas, kumakatawan sa buong sambayanang Pilipino; at ang MILF panel. At dapat sigurong isaalang-alang natin ang mga layunin at ang mga kagustuhan ng bawat panig at dahil ito ay… produkto ng proseso ng negosasyon,” he said.