PHNO HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

1,126 PASSED THE 2014 BAR EXAMS, SC ANNOUNCED THURSDAY


That is equivalent to 18.82% of the exam takers. Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta, chairperson of the 2014 Committee on the Bar Examination said the passing grade is lowered from 75 percent to 73 percent.  The announcement came after a special en banc (full court session) conducted Thursday morning to determine the need to adjust the passing percentage based on the recommendation of the chairperson. Under the Rules of Court, a Bar examinee is deemed to have passed the examination if he/she has obtained a general average of 75 percent. But the high court has the discretion to lower the passing rate based on the committee chairperson’s recommendation. There were 6,344 law graduates who were allowed to take the exam administered on the four Sundays of October, but only 5,984 completed the test. READ MORE...

ALSO: Bedan lawyer on topping 2014 bar exam: ‘It’s a miracle’


Irene Mae Alcobilla. FACEBOOK PHOTO
MANILA, Philippines—Poring over her law books since her graduation, 2014 bar exam topnotcher Irene Mae Alcobilla said that acing the exam was a “miracle.”  The San Beda College of Law alumna said on Thursday that she only hoped to pass the exam but did not expect to be this year’s bar exam top placer. “I feel that it’s a miracle. Maybe I’m just dreaming. I can’t define what I am feeling right now, ” Alcobilla said in an interview on ANC. “What I only wanted was to become a Bedan lawyer, to pass the Bar. But while I was reviewing, I said to myself I needed to set standards for myself,” the 26-year-old San Remigio, Antique, native said. Describing herself as someone “who is not that good,” Alcobilla said that the exam was difficult and that she chose to review her lessons instead of sleeping during the exam conducted on four Sundays in October 2014. “The exam was difficult. But I told myself that I was able to answer it and that my answers made sense. So I told myself, ‘I will pass,’” she said. READ MORE...

ALSO: San Beda College graduate tops 2014 bar exam
(Ateneo 2nd, UP 3rd & 4th, U of Cebu 5th)


A graduate of the San Beda College of Law topped the 2014 bar exam, the Supreme Court announced Thursday.
Irene Mae Alcobilla paced all 1,126 successful takers with a rating of 85.5%. Aside from her, two other graduates of SBC made the Top 10. Taking the second place was Christian Drilon, a graduate of Ateneo de Manila University, with an 85.45% passing rate. The rest of the Top 10 were: Sandra Mae Magalang of the University of the Philippines (3rd place, 84.6%); Mark Leo Bejemino of UP, Gil Garcia of Ateneo de Davao and Reginald Laco of De La Salle University Lipa (all in 4th place, 84.55%); Michelle Liao of University of Cebu (5th place, 84.5%); Jose Angelo David of SBC (6th place, 84.45%); Adrian Aumentado of SBC (7th place, 84.35%); Rhey David Daway of UP and Fideliz Cardellie Diaz of Far Eastern University-De La Salle University Juris Doctor MBA (8th place, 84.2%); Jamie Liz Yu of UP (9th place, 84%); and Tristan Delgado of AdMU (10th place, 83.95%). The last time a San Beda College of Law alumnus topped the bar was in 2009 when Reinier Paul Yebra who aced the 2009 exam. IDL THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO: Drilon's nephew beats him in Bar ranking, places 2nd


Bar second-placer Christian Drilon beats uncle's number 3 rank  MANILA - Bar second-placer Christian Drilon can now tell his uncle, Senate President Franklin Drilon: “O, ano nangyari?”  The younger Drilon said his uncle challenged him to do his best in last year's Bar exams, but the senator also told him his number 3 rank in the 1969 Bar exams would not be beaten. "He challenged me, sabi niya, 'hindi mo ko malalampasan, hindi mo kaya yung number 3,' So actually ngayon, kaya ko na sabihin, 'o ano nangyari?” said the Ateneo de Manila Law graduate. The younger Drilon, who placed second with a score of 85.45%, said he waited for the results on television. “I waited. I watched TV, sa ANC [ABS-CBN News Channel]. It was announced and natuwa naman ako."  READ MORE...

ALSO: Lawmakers buck Aquino's BBL review panel tack


Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, chairman of the 75-man House panel reviewing the BBL,  LAWMAKERS continued to assail the Palace proposal to form a panel to review the controversial Bangsamoro Basic Law even as Malacañang argued that President Benigno Aquino III’s proposal was not meant to usurp the power of Congress to consider and enact laws. Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, chairman of the 75-man House panel reviewing the BBL, reiterated that the House will pass the BBL based on “plenary powers of Congress in accordance with the collective wisdom of all its members.”  He said the government cannot force congressmen to accept their proposal and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front cannot make demands on what version of the BBL it should approve because the proposed measure is replete with unconstitutional provisions in the first place. “We cannot swallow hook, line and sinker here,” Rodriguez said stressing that the House will stand by its position to remove unconstitutional provisions in the BBL, including the creation of its own internal “Commission on Audit”; disciplining public officials like the Ombudsman, establishment of another civil service, and human rights body, and creation of the Bangsamoro police force. READ MORE...

ALSO: Noynoy may have ‘terroristic tantrums’—Opposition UNA chief


(UNA) interim president Toby Tiangco  
When President Aquino asked the people to choose between passing the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) and counting body bags, the President in effect is tacitly terrorizing Filipinos in the name of peace, opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) interim president Toby Tiangco said yesterday. Aquino gave the two options in a speech the other day to commemorate the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) a year ago.
“The President is tacitly terrorising people in the name of peace. He is busy sowing fear instead of reason and rational disourse on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law. He’s selling peace, in the context of terror,” Tiangco said. “What’s going on in the President’s head when he said pass the BBL now or count body bags later? Has PNoy turned into a terrorist? He is already bordering on his terroristic tantrums. PNoy cannot bring out his tantrums for his self serving quest for the Nobel Peace prize,” Tiangco said.

He added that the Aquino administration has only itself to blame for the rush to pass the proposed BBL, noting that the peace pact leading to the proposed measure was “legally flawed.”  “The proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law should be within the framework of the Constitution. And if there are any delays to its passage, then the administration has only themselves to blame, for signing a peace pact that is legally flawed,” UNA said.  “What is worrying is that they have not been transparent at all—they are selling false hopes to everyone. And now they are busy sowing fear, and social division,” Tiangco added. He described Aquino as a willing “agent provocateur” of the MILF. “The MILF and the peace panel relied on the President’s popularity at that time, and thinking that they can get away with its constitutionality. Probably, they thought that the President’s popularity was a license for them to set aside legality,” Tiangco added.CONTINUE READING...

ALSO ‘Battered but not out’: 4 key provisions in BBL face amendments


FOR PEACE REVIEW: Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, Mohagher Iqbal and Sen. Francis Escudero. FILE PHOTOS   LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines—At least four key provisions in the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), including one that would give the prospective Bangsamoro autonomous region P75 billion in initial budget, are being reviewed and likely to be amended by the Senate, according to Sen. Francis Escudero, one of President Benigno Aquino III’s closest allies. Mr. Aquino has formed a peace council that will review and introduce improvements to the BBL, which has been thrown off-track by a clash between government counterterrorism forces and Moro rebels in Mamasapano, Maguindanao province, on Jan. 25. Both the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are trying to save the BBL to complete the peace process that culminated in the signing of a peace agreement a year ago. “The BBL is battered but it’s not yet out, and I think there is now some sort of recovery,” Mohagher Iqbal, chief MILF peace negotiator, said at an open-air gathering organized by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (Oppap) on Friday night to celebrate the first anniversary of the peace agreement. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

A total of 1,126 passed the 2014 bar exam, the Supreme Court announced Thursday.

MANILA, MARCH 30, 2015 (INQUIRER) That is equivalent to 18.82% of the exam takers.

READ: Full list of the 1126 passers of 2014 bar exam

Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta, chairperson of the 2014 Committee on the Bar Examination said the passing grade is lowered from 75 percent to 73 percent.

The announcement came after a special en banc (full court session) conducted Thursday morning to determine the need to adjust the passing percentage based on the recommendation of the chairperson.

Under the Rules of Court, a Bar examinee is deemed to have passed the examination if he/she has obtained a general average of 75 percent.

But the high court has the discretion to lower the passing rate based on the committee chairperson’s recommendation.

There were 6,344 law graduates who were allowed to take the exam administered on the four Sundays of October, but only 5,984 completed the test.

READ MORE...
Last year’s exam also saw more exam re-takers than first-timers with a total of 3, 229 (50.9 percent) compared to the 3, 115 first takers.

The Bar examination covers eight subjects-Political Law and Public International Law, Labor and Social Legislation, Civil Law, Taxation, Mercantile Law, Criminal Law, Remedial law and Legal Ethics and Practical Exercises.

Comparative statistics on the bar examinations since 2000 | Create infographics

This year’s examiners are the following:

Atty. Rene B. Gorospe (for Political and International Law). He currently teaches law at the University of Santo Tomas and Far Eastern University Institute of Law;

PCGG Chair Juan Andres D. Bautista (for Labor and Social Legislation);

Atty. Maria Liza Lopez-Rosario (for Civil Law) has degrees in Philosophy (1984; magna cum laude) and law (1988, magna cum laude), both from the University of Santo Tomas. She is a Partner at the Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & De Los Angeles Law Offices. She is also a member of the UST Faculty of Civil Law and is the legal counsel of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP);

Court of Tax Appeals Associate Justice Esperanza Fabon-Victorino (for Taxation);

Atty. Ferdinand M. Negre (for Mercantile Law) obtained his law degree from the Ateneo Law School in 1991. He pursued a post-graduate degree of Master of Intellectual Property at Pierce University, New Hampshire, USA. Atty. Negre co-founded the BengzonNegreUntalan Intellectual Property Attorneys;

Assistant Court Administrator and Chief of the SC Public Information Office Atty. Theodore O. Te (for Criminal Law) who has a Masters degree in Law in 2012 from Columbia University in New York;

Atty. Edgar Julio S. Asuncion (for Remedial Law). He placed 8th in the 1981 Bar Examinations. He is currently the Senior Vice President for Legal Services for the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth); and

Court of Appeals Associate Justice (retired) Rosalinda A. Vicente (for Legal Ethics and Practical Exercises) earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology at the University of Santo Tomas, where she graduated magna cum laude. In 1968, she obtained her law degree with cum laude standing also from UST.

Earlier, the high court removed the cap on exam retakes as it lifted the five-strike rule.

In the 2013 bar exam, only 1, 174 out of the 5, 593 examinees managed to pass the exams.

Innovations were also introduced in the 2014 bar exam including the use of Bar Codes for the examination booklets and the requirement that all examinees should place their personal belongings in clear, plastic bags or containers to avoid long lines at the entrance and facilitate entry into the UST campus.

Oath taking of the successful examinees will be on April 24 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC). IDL


INQUIRER

Bedan lawyer on topping 2014 bar exam: ‘It’s a miracle’ Aries Joseph Hegina, Tetch Torres-Tupas | INQUIRER.net 4:22 PM | Thursday, March 26th, 2015


Irene Mae Alcobilla. FACEBOOK PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Poring over her law books since her graduation, 2014 bar exam topnotcher Irene Mae Alcobilla said that acing the exam was a “miracle.”

The San Beda College of Law alumna said on Thursday that she only hoped to pass the exam but did not expect to be this year’s bar exam top placer.

“I feel that it’s a miracle. Maybe I’m just dreaming. I can’t define what I am feeling right now, ” Alcobilla said in an interview on ANC.

“What I only wanted was to become a Bedan lawyer, to pass the Bar. But while I was reviewing, I said to myself I needed to set standards for myself,” the 26-year-old San Remigio, Antique, native said.

Describing herself as someone “who is not that good,” Alcobilla said that the exam was difficult and that she chose to review her lessons instead of sleeping during the exam conducted on four Sundays in October 2014.

“The exam was difficult. But I told myself that I was able to answer it and that my answers made sense. So I told myself, ‘I will pass,’” she said.

READ MORE...
She said she learned about the result in social media when her friends informed her on Viber and started tagging her on Facebook.

The newly minted lawyer broke the good news to her anxious parents with a short text message: “Top 1.”

On her Facebook account, she offered her lawyer dream to God a day before the results of the exam were released: “I declare that tomorrow my dream will come true in [Jesus’] name. Amen.”

And it did.

“Hindi ko po alam kung paano ako nabigyan ng ganito kalaking gift (I don’t know how I became blessed with such a huge gift),” Alcobilla said.

Alcobilla is one of the three Bedans who placed a spot in the top 10 in this year’s bar exam and one of the 1,126 new lawyers.

She graduated with a degree in Political Science in West Visayas State University and has worked as an intern in the Office of the Solicitor General.

San Beda College last had a bar topnotcher in 2009 with Reiner Paul Yabra. ID/RC


INQUIRER

San Beda College graduate tops 2014 bar exam INQUIRER.net 11:52 AM | Thursday, March 26th, 2015

MANILA, Philippines—A graduate of the San Beda College of Law topped the 2014 bar exam, the Supreme Court announced Thursday.

Irene Mae Alcobilla paced all 1,126 successful takers with a rating of 85.5%. Aside from her, two other graduates of SBC made the Top 10.

Taking the second place was Christian Drilon, a graduate of Ateneo de Manila University, with an 85.45% passing rate.

The rest of the Top 10 were: Sandra Mae Magalang of the University of the Philippines (3rd place, 84.6%); Mark Leo Bejemino of UP, Gil Garcia of Ateneo de Davao and Reginald Laco of De La Salle University Lipa (all in 4th place, 84.55%); Michelle Liao of University of Cebu (5th place, 84.5%); Jose Angelo David of SBC (6th place, 84.45%); Adrian Aumentado of SBC (7th place, 84.35%); Rhey David Daway of UP and Fideliz Cardellie Diaz of Far Eastern University-De La Salle University Juris Doctor MBA (8th place, 84.2%); Jamie Liz Yu of UP (9th place, 84%); and Tristan Delgado of AdMU (10th place, 83.95%).

The last time a San Beda College of Law alumnus topped the bar was in 2009 when Reinier Paul Yebra who aced the 2009 exam. IDL


ABS-CBN

Drilon's nephew beats him in Bar ranking, places 2nd ABS-CBNnews.com Posted at 03/26/2015 2:53 PM | Updated as of 03/27/2015 1:17 AM


Bar second-placer Christian Drilon beats uncle's number 3 rank

MANILA - Bar second-placer Christian Drilon can now tell his uncle, Senate President Franklin Drilon: “O, ano nangyari?”

The younger Drilon said his uncle challenged him to do his best in last year's Bar exams, but the senator also told him his number 3 rank in the 1969 Bar exams would not be beaten.

"He challenged me, sabi niya, 'hindi mo ko malalampasan, hindi mo kaya yung number 3,' So actually ngayon, kaya ko na sabihin, 'o ano nangyari?” said the Ateneo de Manila Law graduate.

The younger Drilon, who placed second with a score of 85.45%, said he waited for the results on television.

“I waited. I watched TV, sa ANC [ABS-CBN News Channel]. It was announced and natuwa naman ako."

READ MORE...
The top ten are:

1) Alcobilla, Irene Mae (San Beda College – Manila) 85.5% 2) Drilon, Christian (Ateneo de Manila) – 85.45% 3) Magalang, Sandra Mae (UP) – 84.6% 4) Bejemino, Mark Leo (UP) – 84.55% Garcia, Gil (Ateneo de Davao) Laco, Reginald (De La Salle Lipa) 5) Liao, Michelle (University of Cebu) 84.5%

6) David, Jose Angelo (San Beda) 84.45% 7) Aumentado, Adrian (San Beda) 84.35% 8) Daway, Rhey David (UP) 84.2 Diaz, Fideliz Cardellie (Far Eastern University-DLSU) 9) Yu, Jamie Liz (UP) 84% 10) Delgado, Tristan Matthew (Ateneo) – 83.95%

A total of 5,984 law graduates took the Bar, but only 1,126 passed for an 18.82 percent passing rate.

The SC decided to bring down the passing grade to 73% this year. – with a report from Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

TEXT REPORT FROM THE INQUIRER

SEN. DRILON'S SON PATRICK PASSED THE BAR TOO

Although scared and under pressure, bar examination second placer Christian Drilon was able to beat the dare of his uncle Senate President Franklin Drilon to “outrank” him in what is perceived as the country’s most difficult licensure examination.

“He [Senator Drilon] challenged me, sabi nya hindi mo kaya ‘yung number three,” Drilon told reporters over the phone.

His uncle ranked third in the 1969 Bar examination with a score of 86.85 percent.

“So, ngayon kaya ko nang sabihin, ‘anong nangyari,'” he joked.

But he said he knows that his uncle would surely rebut that his score is still higher than him. Christian Drilon, a graduate of Ateneo De Manila University got a score of 85.450 percent.

He said there was pressure because everyone expects him to do well being a class valedictorian.

“And the pressure was mostly [because] I also graduated valedictorian, lahat ng mga blockmates ko and officemates and everyone, sure na ‘yan tinatanong na lang kung anong place mo. Of course madali sa kanila sabihin but for me, hindi nila alam nahirapan ako,” he said.

During the examination, he said he found Criminal Law difficult and was not able to finish the Political Law exam.

“I was really scared kung enough ba ‘yung nasagutan ko and I (thought about) my handwriting. I am not really confident that I could top so hanggang dasal na lang,” he said.

In preparation for the exam, he said he ate healthier, exercised and prioritized sleep over studying.

“I (ate healthier, exercised), slept early, prioritized sleep over studying, And I did that for the better part of 6 months before the bar. I woke up at 4 a.m. (with the) rest of the day devoted to studying. But I purposely devoted time to exercise,” he said.

“The last thing I wanted was to feel sleepy or tired during the exams, or to experience mental block, that was what I was avoiding. And studying was secondary in the sense that I prioritized everything else because I relied on what I studied and learned during law school. so review was just review,” said.

He said he already started working as paralegal at the Romulo Mabanta Law Office.

Christian’s cousin, Patrick, son of Senator Drilon also passed the bar. ID


MANILA STANDARD

Lawmakers buck Aquino's BBL review summit tack By Maricel Cruz, Sara Susanne D. Fabunan | Mar. 29, 2015 at 12:01am


Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, chairman of the 75-man House panel reviewing the BBL,

LAWMAKERS continued to assail the Palace proposal to form a panel to review the controversial Bangsamoro Basic Law even as Malacañang argued that President Benigno Aquino III’s proposal was not meant to usurp the power of Congress to consider and enact laws.

Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, chairman of the 75-man House panel reviewing the BBL, reiterated that the House will pass the BBL based on “plenary powers of Congress in accordance with the collective wisdom of all its members.”

He said the government cannot force congressmen to accept their proposal and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front cannot make demands on what version of the BBL it should approve because the proposed measure is replete with unconstitutional provisions in the first place.

“We cannot swallow hook, line and sinker here,” Rodriguez said stressing that the House will stand by its position to remove unconstitutional provisions in the BBL, including the creation of its own internal “Commission on Audit”; disciplining public officials like the Ombudsman, establishment of another civil service, and human rights body, and creation of the Bangsamoro police force.

READ MORE...
Rodriguez also said the MILF cannot demand from Congress anything in so far as the BBL is concerned. 

Zamboanga Rep. Celso Lobregat, a member of the ad hoc panel, said the review being proposed by the Palace was a tacit admission that they submitted a faulty bill and the opinions of “citizen leaders” will not make faulty provisions any less unconstitutional.

“Is this now an admission that there was no genuine and proper consultation done by the [Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process] and the [Government of the Philippines] panel?” Lobregat asked.

“The proposed BBL has been transmitted to Congress and both Houses are deliberating on the measure. The Catholic Church, business sector or a convenors council cannot replace Congress,” said Lobregat, vice chairman of the House committee on peace, reconciliation and unity.

“This should have been done before the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CAB) last year,” he added, stressing that the Palace-proposed BBL cannot be passed in its present form.

“We need a BBL that is just, fair, acceptable, feasible and consistent with the Constitution and existing laws,” Lobregat said.


PALACE: BBL Peace summit involves all Pinoys’ Every Filipino needs to understand and get involved in the ongoing peace negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Malacañang said yesterday, after President Aquino announced the holding of a national peace summit with representatives from different sectors as independent convenors.By Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) | Updated March 29, 2015 - 12:00am

But Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said Aquino’s proposal was not attempt to take over the legislative process but merely as an additional forum.

“Only Congress can pass the BBL, no summit will be able to do that,” Valte said on government-run dzRB radio.

“It’s not about replacing the legislative process, but merely, as the President said, to provide an avenue to which the BBL can be discussed in a rational and calm manner,” Valte said.

“It creates an opportunity for community leaders and well-respected personalities in society to come together to sit down and discuss the BBL, and also in their understanding to propose a way to move forward,” she added.

But Valte admitted that the so-called “national peace summit” the Palace proposed to consist of “citizen leaders” like Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, former Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., businessman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, was meant to pressure lawmakers into passing the law.

“It is up to the senator [or congressman] if he will listen to the voices of the citizen leaders who will comprise the summit,” Valte said.

“Why will it be useless to get inputs from various members of the community? This is an issue everyone needs to understand,” she said. “Congress has the power to go over (the BBL) but that does not exclude the people because Congress should be primarily listening to the people.”

On Friday, Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said Aquino’s initiative to form a citizens’ committee that will review the BBL is an attempt to rally public support for the passage of the controversial measure.

Meanwhile, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles admitted that the government was being bashed because of the BBL.

“I admit we are bruised and feeling battered but we are here to proclaim we still stand firm (in pushing the peace process),” Deles said in a speech during a book launch event in Intramuros, Manila on Friday marking the first anniversary of the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.

“The past two months are psychologically and physically battering, but the last two weeks affirmed that the way we have responded made the process stronger,” Deles said.

“The results will be a stronger process and a stronger BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law) with more people on board,”? she said.

The CAB was signed, she noted, after 17 years of negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

The peace adviser recounted the events and the challenges that faced both negotiating panels before they finally signed the CAB in March 27 last year.

“We have gone through a difficult process of negotiation,” Deles said, adding that the challenges disprove those who claim the peace agreement was rushed and not carefully studied by the government.


TRIBUNE

Noynoy may have ‘terroristic tantrums’—UNA chief Written by Tribune Wires
Monday, 30 March 2015 00:00


(UNA) interim president Toby Tiangco

When President Aquino asked the people to choose between passing the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) and counting body bags, the President in effect is tacitly terrorizing Filipinos in the name of peace, opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) interim president Toby Tiangco said yesterday.

Aquino gave the two options in a speech the other day to commemorate the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) a year ago.

“The President is tacitly terrorising people in the name of peace.

He is busy sowing fear instead of reason and rational disourse on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law. He’s selling peace, in the context of terror,” Tiangco said.

“What’s going on in the President’s head when he said pass the BBL now or count body bags later?

Has PNoy turned into a terrorist? He is already bordering on his terroristic tantrums. PNoy cannot bring out his tantrums for his self serving quest for the Nobel Peace prize,” Tiangco said.

He added that the Aquino administration has only itself to blame for the rush to pass the proposed BBL, noting that the peace pact leading to the proposed measure was “legally flawed.”

“The proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law should be within the framework of the Constitution. And if there are any delays to its passage, then the administration has only themselves to blame, for signing a peace pact that is legally flawed,” UNA said.

“What is worrying is that they have not been transparent at all—they are selling false hopes to everyone. And now they are busy sowing fear, and social division,” Tiangco added.

He described Aquino as a willing “agent provocateur” of the MILF.

“The MILF and the peace panel relied on the President’s popularity at that time, and thinking that they can get away with its constitutionality. Probably, they thought that the President’s popularity was a license for them to set aside legality,” Tiangco added.

The President has expressed his desire to have the BBL enacted before his term ends and both houses of Congress have set a June deadline for its passage.

Tiangco said that everybody wants peace but the law granting autonomy to the Bangsamoro should be Constitutional.

“We all wanted lasting peace but the BBL should not be at the expense of what the basic law of the land says. Passing the BBL can’t be used as justification for peace to exist in Mindanao,” Tiangco said.

The Navotas lawmaker said that it is Congress’ job to make sure that whatever law is passed is constitutional.

Tiangco added that if the current version of the BBL would be passed, then it could become the target of questions in the Supreme Court regarding its constitutionality.

“It is the job of legislators to follow the Constitution and the laws that we pass. If the BBL does not follow the Constitution, then how can it guarantee lasting peace?” he said.

“The President says the BBL is the product of 17 years of study and negotiations. Wouldn’t it be wise and prudent to sit down and thresh out the flaws of the bill to strengthen it?” Tiangco said.

The independent House minority led by Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez would,  meanwhile, seek a congressional inquiry over the government’s failure to bring to justice the killers of the 44 trooper of the Philippine National Police – Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) brutally massacred in Mamasapano by alleged members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
In a press briefing held Saturday night at the Infinity Cafe of the Jade Hotel and Suites in Don Chino Roces Avenue in Makati City, Romualdez the independent bloc will initiate a House probe as soon as possible on the government inaction for justice for the SAF 44 even if Congress is on recess.

“The House Independent Minority Bloc is demanding an update from Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and government peace panel chair Miriam Coronel Ferrer on what is being done to arrest and charge the killers of the SAF 44 in the Mamasapano massacre last Jan. 25,” said Romualdez.

Romuladez said more than two months have passed since the massacre, and yet, nothing has been heard anything as to what the government has been doing to arrest the killers and charge them.

“So our question is has anything been done at all? Can the widows or kin of the SAF 44 still expect justice for the slaughter of their husbands, sons or brothers?” he asked.

The Leyte solon said that as the MILF already has finished its own report on the Mamasapano massacre and has submitted copies of it to the government, the government can no longer claim that they have yet to identify the killers of the SAF 44.

“The MILF leadership has even repeatedly declared that they will not surrender the killers.

Therefore, they already know who the gunmen are. But despite this total disregard of the law, the government would not even demand the surrender of the killers. Let us not forget that the MILF and the territories they control are not exempted from the law,” Romualdez stressed.

“So it’s suspicious, to say the least, for the government to handle the massacre of the SAF 44 with kid gloves,” he added.

Adding insult to injury, Romualdez said, is the fact that instead of ensuring justice for the SAF 44, the government is already pushing heaven and earth for the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) untouched.

“So whose side is the government on, the MILF or the Filipino people?” said Romualdez.

“Are we supposed to just tell the widows and kin of the SAF 44 that ‘Sorry, the MILF is far more important than the supreme sacrifice of your loved ones. Thanks, anyway.’ Is this the way the government should reciprocate or recognize the heroism of the SAF 44?” said the solon.

A probe on the government’s inaction for justice for the SAF 44 is needed, Romualdez stressed, as there are “a lot of questions to ask to a lot of people.”

“To the best of our capability, the Bloc will do everything we can to help ensure justice for the SAF 44 as soon as possible. We are firm believers of the principle that justice delayed is justice denied,” said Romualdez.

Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero added that there is no need to press Aquino for a public apology over the Mamasapano debacle after he sought in a speech public understanding over the incident.

Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., in another interview with dzBB, said the matter on the President’s role in the Mamasapano incident remains unclear as this was not addressed by Aquino in his speech, despite public clamor for explanation and public apology.

The senator said Aquino provided some explanation to the issue but noted that the President appeared to be giving conflicting statements and regardless of the numerous “versions” given to the public so far, the Chief Executive still failed to provide a clearer understanding as to why he did what he did concerning the Mamasapano operation of the Special Action Force (SAF).
Charlie V. Manalo, Angie M. Rosales


INQUIRER

‘Battered but not out’: 4 key provisions in BBL face amendments Mar S. Arguelles-Inquirer Southern Luzon and Nikko Dizon in Manila @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 1:17 AM | Sunday, March 29th, 2015


FOR PEACE RECOVERY: Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, Mohagher Iqbal and Sen. Francis Escudero. FILE PHOTOS

LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines—At least four key provisions in the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), including one that would give the prospective Bangsamoro autonomous region P75 billion in initial budget, are being reviewed and likely to be amended by the Senate, according to Sen. Francis Escudero, one of President Benigno Aquino III’s closest allies.

Mr. Aquino has formed a peace council that will review and introduce improvements to the BBL, which has been thrown off-track by a clash between government counterterrorism forces and Moro rebels in Mamasapano, Maguindanao province, on Jan. 25.

Both the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are trying to save the BBL to complete the peace process that culminated in the signing of a peace agreement a year ago.

“The BBL is battered but it’s not yet out, and I think there is now some sort of recovery,” Mohagher Iqbal, chief MILF peace negotiator, said at an open-air gathering organized by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (Oppap) on Friday night to celebrate the first anniversary of the peace agreement.

READ MORE...
Iqbal said part of the recovery was the formation of the peace council announced by President Aquino on Friday afternoon.

READ: Aquino forms peace council

Discussion to be led by the council, Iqbal said, will “help push the peace process, especially in Congress.”

Congress is on recess for Lent, but hearings on the BBL will be held to meet a deadline set by the leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives to pass the measure by June, before the second regular session of the 16th Congress adjourns.

Speaking to reporters in Legazpi City on Friday hours before President Aquino announced the formation of the peace council, Escudero said the BBL that would emerge from the Senate would definitely be different from the original proposal.

READ: Gov’t peace panel urges lawmakers to fix ‘illegal’ BBL provisions

“The BBL would be passing strict scrutiny as if it would pass through an eye of a needle,” Escudero said. “We will decide what is right and what is wrong.”


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

© Copyright, 2014 by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE
All rights reserved


PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE [PHNO] WEBSITE