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

EX-CJ REYNATO PUNO: NATIONAL CRISIS LOOMS OVER BBL
[“What went wrong during the administration of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo? Of Joseph Estrada? It's time to have a review. We will learn lessons if we look back. We know why we had a dictator. But why did we have more dynasties now? Why do we have leaders who, people believe, were not qualified, because they added no value to lawmaking? If the legislature is so weak, you need the judiciary to correct the balance of power. But why does politics get in the way of the judiciary? And why does the judiciary get in the way of governance?” Puno said.


FORMER CJ REYNATO PUNO--
Seeks charter changes; new movement for Cha-cha to be launched  IN THE WAKE of the many discordant voices over the proposed law meant to bring peace to Muslim Mindanao, retired Chief Justice Reynato Puno is coming forward urging amendments to the 1987 Constitution. In an interview with ABS-CBN News, Puno said the public debates over the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), between those in favor and against it, have become too incendiary and divisive that it may eventually lead into a national crisis and tear the country apart. NO SOLUTION TO WAR  "Both positions will not bring peace," said the 75-year-old magistrate, once a formidable voice of judicial activism in the Supreme Court. An ad hoc committee at the House of Representatives has passed a modified measure and is ready for plenary discussion this week. A Senate committee is set to deliberate its own version of the bill, also this week. And the debates will not end in and out of both houses of Congress, he said. “Those who wouldn’t like the outcome of the voting are expected to go all the way to the high tribunal,” he said, recalling how the Supreme Court in October 2008 voided, 8-7, declaring as unconstitutional the scuttled Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) between the Arroyo government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Puno led the majority vote. READ MORE...

ALSO: Palace defends gov't peace panel from treason raps


Government Peace Panel chair Miriam Coronel-Ferrer (rightmost) and Moro Islamic Liberation Cront chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal signs the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro in a ceremony at the Malacañang Presidential Palace in Manila, Philippines on Thursday, March 27, 2014. AP File photo
- Malacañang on Thursday defended members of the government peace panel now facing sedition and treason complaints over the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) and the peace accord with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). In a press briefing, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said Presidential Peace Adviser Teresita Deles and Peace Panel Chairperson Miriam Coronel Ferrer performed their duties well. "Sa lahat ng pagkakataon, ginampanan ng ating mga opisyal ang kanilang tungkulin. Simula noong sila ay nanungkuluan ay naisulong nila ang proseso ng kapayapaan," Coloma said. He said the efforts of the government peace panel led to the historic framework and comprehensive agreements on the Bangsamoro and their offshoot, the BBL. READ MORE...

ALSO: House approves P37-B funding for Bangsamoro autonomous region


House of Representatives File photo
- The House of Representatives appropriations committee last night approved funding for the proposed new Bangsamoro autonomous region in Mindanao amounting to nearly P37 billion for 2016. Approval by the committee chaired by Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab followed similar action by the committee on ways and means chaired by Marikina Rep. Miro Quimbo on the powers of taxation of the autonomous Muslim region. The two panels rushed their respective votes on the appropriation and taxation provisions of the House version of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in time for today’s scheduled plenary deliberations on the measure. Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, chairman of the ad hoc committee on the draft BBL, and his vice chairmen will alternately defend their chamber’s version of the proposed law on the Bangsamoro autonomous region. Ungab said the P37-billion funding for 2016 is more than P12 billion more than this year’s P24.3-billion budget of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), which the new Bangsamoro region would replace. “This is an allocation for peace and development. We are confident that the regional government, when formed, will use the money wisely,” he said. READ MORE...

ALSO: MNLF calls govt, MILF proposed OIC meeting ‘a desperate act’


Firdausi Abbas, president of the Muslim Bar Association of the Philippines THE Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) on Tuesday dismissed a plan by the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to attend a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), calling it a desperate move to reverse the negative reactions toward the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in the Philippines.
A three-member Philippine delegation is scheduled to attend the 42nd Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in Kuwait on May 27 to 28 upon the invitation of the OIC, where MILF chairman Murad Ibrahim is supposed to deliver a speech before the council conference. But Absalom Cerveza, MNLF spokesman, said the latest attempt by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) would do nothing to change public opinion against the BBL. “How can he (Murad) speak before the OIC when he is not an observer member?” Cerveza added. He said MNLF found chairman Nur Misuari, who is recognized by the OIC, is the one authorized to address the 57 member countries. Cerveza said the effort to win OIC support comes amid the rejection by the Sultanate of Sulu and other groups of the BBL. Firdausi Abbas, president of the Muslim Bar Association of the Philippines, said inviting Murad to speak before the 42nd Council of Foreign Ministers had no political significance. He said it did not negate the observer status granted in 1977 to the MNLF as the legitimate representative of the Bangsa Moro or Moro people. But Abbas also said the OIC has lost its influence in recent years, with its failure to prevent warns between Muslim states, to solve the problems of Muslim minorities in non-Muslim states, and to acknowledge discrimination against ethnic Muslim minorities in Muslim states. READ MORE...

ALSO No reason for Noy to meet Senators: ‘Senate may be offered pork’


OSMEÑA SENATOR Sergio Osmena III said Tuesday that President Benigno Aquino III can use “goodies” like pork barrel to railroad the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in the Senate in the same way he did in the House of Representatives. The President said Monday he was ready to meet the senators on the BBL after he swayed congressmen to approve the Palace-supported bill with very few changes at the committee level in two meetings ahead of a key vote. Osmena said the BBL was “definitely” railroaded through the House. “It’s very clear,” he said. He added that the same thing could happen in the Senate. “I’ll be naughty. If there are some goodies, it might help win a couple of senators,” Osmena said. He likened the situation to 2011 and 2012, when the President pressed congressmen and senators to impeach and convict his political opponent, Chief Justice Renato Corona. Saying he had qualms about meeting with the President, Osmena said he was worried that the public would believe the senators were bought. In 2013, Senator Jinggoy Estrada–now detained on corruption charges—revealed that the administration used Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) funds to bribe senators to convict Corona in his impeachment trial. Each senator who voted to convict was given P50 million to P100 million in funding for their projects. Osmena said pork barrel was still in the budget process, even though the Supreme Court had struck it down as unconstitutional. READ MORE...

ALSO: 12 senators agree BBL needs revisions; Miriam: Draft law essentially unconstitutional
[“We are not against peace, we are for peace. But we are opposed to the unconstitutional provisions of the BBL,”]


Sen. Miriam Santiago File photo
Only by substantially revising the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) can it withstand legal scrutiny before the Supreme Court, according to the Senate committee on constitutional amendments and revision of codes. The committee’s position was contained in a report signed by 12 of 14 panel members including its chairperson Sen. Miriam Santiago. She has transmitted the report to the committee on local government, the primary committee scrutinizing the BBL. An SC challenge may come sooner than expected as Rep. Lito Atienza of party-list group Buhay is set to file today a petition with the high court questioning the BBL and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB). “By affixing their signatures in the committee report, senators are agreeing with the conclusion that the present BBL draft is essentially unconstitutional. I expect that more of my colleagues will adopt the same view on the Senate floor,” Santiago said. The other senators who signed the report were committee vice chair Aquilino Pimentel III, acting minority leader Vicente Sotto III, and committee members Senators Juan Edgardo Angara, Jinggoy Estrada, Teofisto Guingona III, Gringo Honasan, Lito Lapid, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., and Cynthia Villar. Lapid wrote “with reservation” over his signature. A handwritten note by Angara on top of his signature stated, “Congress has powers to amend the Constitution if needed.”  Senate president pro tempore Ralph Recto and Senate majority leader Alan Peter Cayetano, ex-officio members, expressed their support for the committee’s position but did not sign the report. Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, another vice chair of the committee, was out of the country while Senate minority leader Juan Ponce Enrile, an ex-officio member, did not sign because he has not studied the matter fully, his staff said. Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr., in detention for plunder, issued a statement cautioning against rushing the passage of the BBL. “We have to tread carefully and deliberately. We should not rush into it,” he said. READ MORE...

ALSO: Senate divided over BBL; Drilon assured senators would support passage
[Drilon rejects insinuations Aquino will dangle pork barrel to senators]


DRILON 
The proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is in for a rough sailing in the Senate.
As of now, senators are divided on the constitutionality of the proposed peace measure. As of yesterday, at least 12 senators support the view of the Senate Constitutional Amendments Committee chaired by Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago that the proposed BBL is unconstitutional. The draft BBL should be substantially revised if it is to withstand legal scrutiny before the Supreme Court, Santiago said as majority of her 14-member committee signed the report, which was subsequently transmitted to the Senate Local Government Committee chaired by Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr., the lead committee. Senate President Franklin M. Drilon assured that senators would support the passage of the controversial measure when they see that its provisions are constitutional. He rejected insinuations that President Aquino could dangle pork barrel funds to get senators to agree to Malacañang’s version of the proposed BBL. But Drilon reiterated there is nothing wrong if senators have a meeting with the President, although he agreed with some of his colleagues a meeting with the Chief Executive over the BBL is not necessary at this time. The Marcos committee, the Santiago committee, and the Senate Peace, Unification and Reconciliation Committee, chaired by Sen. Teofisto Guingona III, had been tasked by the Senate leadership to fine-tune the BBL. The proposed peace measure was drafted by the secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP). READ MORE...

ALSO by Yen Makabenta: Will Congress help PNoy create his Franken-state?


by YEN MAKABENTA
By trying to turn Congress into a tool for treason and the dismemberment of our Republic, the Bangsamoro project is paradoxically serving as an emergency call for congress to look at itself in the mirror and stanch its prolonged institutional decline. Slowly but surely, many legislators are starting to realize that they are being conscripted for a Frankenstein project by the president. Incompetent though he may be, President Benigno BS Aquino 3rd has had a profound impact on the nation’s legislature and has dominated more seasoned and better-educated congressional leaders. Under Aquino’s battering, Congress has lost its traditional role as the linchpin of our constitutional system. Treating Congress with contempt You would think that having earned his rudimentary political education in Congress (in serving two terms in the House of Representatives and one term in the Senate), Aquino would be more respectful of the institution, eager to turn it into an ally or partner of his administration. But instead, he has treated it with contempt and has thoroughly corrupted Congress. Aquino acceded to office in 2010 with no majority to speak of in either house of Congress. But to his surprise, members of the Senate and the House were awed by his electoral triumph, and were eager to defer to him. In the House, Feliciano Belmonte, lusting for the speakership, cobbled together a congressional majority to support the president and his own bid to be speaker. In the Senate, the numerically superior independent and opposition forces, led by senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada, banded together and offered their cooperation and support, in exchange for presidential blessing on their leadership of the chamber. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Ex-CJ Puno: National crisis looms over BBL


CJ REYNATO PUNO--Seeks charter changes; new movement for Cha-cha to be launched

MANILA, JUNE 1, 2015 (ABS-CBN) By Gerry Lirio, Posted at 05/26/2015 - IN THE WAKE of the many discordant voices over the proposed law meant to bring peace to Muslim Mindanao, retired Chief Justice Reynato Puno is coming forward urging amendments to the 1987 Constitution.

In an interview with ABS-CBN News, Puno said the public debates over the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), between those in favor and against it, have become too incendiary and divisive that it may eventually lead into a national crisis and tear the country apart.

NO SOLUTION TO WAR

"Both positions will not bring peace," said the 75-year-old magistrate, once a formidable voice of judicial activism in the Supreme Court. An ad hoc committee at the House of Representatives has passed a modified measure and is ready for plenary discussion this week. A Senate committee is set to deliberate its own version of the bill, also this week.

And the debates will not end in and out of both houses of Congress, he said.

“Those who wouldn’t like the outcome of the voting are expected to go all the way to the high tribunal,” he said, recalling how the Supreme Court in October 2008 voided, 8-7, declaring as unconstitutional the scuttled Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) between the Arroyo government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Puno led the majority vote.

READ MORE...
Both houses 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. The proposed law suddenly became too hot to handle as a result of the Mamasapano encounter that killed 44 police operatives, 17 MILF members, and some civilians.

NEW MOVEMENT FOR SYSTEMS CHANGE

The man who helped draft the Freedom Constitution of the revolutionary government of President Corazon Aquino in February 1986 has agreed to become the face of charter change, if only for the people, especially the lawmakers, “ to see the value of rewriting the constitution.”

Puno will lead a soft launching 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.

Why convention? “Because we can't trust Congress to do it well enough for they are for (the preservation of) the status quo.”

The timing of the convention, he said, will dispel suspicions that the constitutional amendments were meant to grant the President an extension of his term. “With the term issue set aside, then we would know what we want to change,” he said, adding that he would seek neither an elective office, nor a seat in the proposed convention come 2016. “If asked, I would be willing to serve as a consultant to help guide the body,” he said.

'LOOK BEYOND BBL'

Puno said the passing of the proposed law will not bring peace, he said. “It is a no-win situation for the people at this time. Whoever wins the debates--pros and cons--will not avert the crisis. You still have the Moro National Liberation Front and other secessionist and criminal groups. And if it is not passed, the MILF will pull out. You’ll have a lot of disorder,” he said.

Puno said the Mamasapano encounter nearly broke the country into parts. So might the debates, he said. “The debates are only opening old wounds. Let’s look beyond BBL. They say Mamasapano is providential against the proposed law. Let me say: ‘Mamasapano is providential indeed, but in triggering discussion on Charter change.’”

BALANCE OF POWER

But the Mamasapano encounter only revealed a bigger problem in the country, he said.

“The problem is about balance of power between the national government and the Muslim Mindanao. We have to grant them powers, but we can't grant federalism only to Muslim Mindanao. The problem is symmetrical, not asymmetrical. The solution is to adjust the balance of power, not just between the national government and Mindanao, but among the three branches in government, and only changes in the constitution can address that. A simple law (BBL) can’t address that. Hence, there is a need to examine the charter. ”

NO MUSLIM IN TRIBUNAL

There should be a guarantee that there is Muslim representation in different levels in government, he said. “Maybe we could give each group its own place. Seriously, the ARMM [Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao] experiment proves an (imbalance) of power. What happened to the missing ARMM funds? No audit? No accountability? Just like that? We saw a failure of leadership. We saw a failure of the system. At the Supreme Court, we only had one Muslim justice--Justice Abdulwahid Bidin—all these many years,” he said.

The 1973 Constitution, for instance, clothed former President Ferdinand Marcos, with dictatorial powers that cut short the powers of the legislative and the judiciary, he said. The 1987 Constitution that followed, he added, was meant to prevent another dictatorship, but it overlooked the need to address the balance of power among the executive, the legislative, and the judiciary,” he said.

“The dictator is gone, but the imbalance remains,” he added.

NO DICTATOR, MORE DYNASTIES?

“The 1987 Constitution was not a failure. It has served its purpose. It has a provision on political dynasties, but it was left hanging with that phrase 'as may be provided by law.' Naapura. Now, we have to finish the job,” he said.

“What went wrong during the administration of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo? Of Joseph Estrada? It's time to have a review. We will learn lessons if we look back. We know why we had a dictator. But why did we have more dynasties now? Why do we have leaders who, people believe, were not qualified, because they added no value to lawmaking? If the legislature is so weak, you need the judiciary to correct the balance of power. But why does politics get in the way of the judiciary? And why does the judiciary get in the way of governance?” he said.

“We have the freedom of speech and of the press in the Bill of Rights of the 1987 Constitution. Shouldn't we include the right to free education and shelter, so that these become demandable from the government?” Wasn't it Ramon Magsaysay who once said that those who have less in life should have more in law? And the freedom and the choice to be honest in government, perhaps? “How much is a judge’s take-home [pay], for instance?”

By providing the face and reason to the charter change, Puno said he hoped to help bring the Philippines out of its “failing state” status given by Foreign Policy Magazine and The Fund for Peace foundation since the killing of 58 people, including 32 journalists, in what is now known as the Maguindanao massacre in November 2009.

PH A FAILED STATE?

A failed state, according to German sociologist Max Weber, is an entity which holds “a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence”.

From 2005 to 2014, the Philippines has not been able to improve its ranking, according to the peace foundation, earning a “very high warning” grade in the failed/fragile states index score and rank for the last nine years. In a 2014 report, the foundation said “it is appropriate to regard the Philippines as already having failed as a state.”

WARLORDISM, CRIMES

Other conditions that can be indicative of its failure, according to foundation, are “the erosion of legitimate authority to make collective decisions, an inability to provide reasonable public services, and the inability to interact with other states as a full member of the international community,” the report said.

“Clearly, the Philippines, as a State, has already lost or is losing the fight to maintain control over these four essential conditions... Warlordism, persistent insurgency, and largely uncontrollable crime prevent the state from (winning its own battles),” the report said.

VULNERABLE STAGE

Puno said there is also a need to empower overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

“We have over 10 million overseas workers,” he said. “They keep the economy stable. But they have a feeble voice in Congress. Why do we have police or military attache in every diplomatic post, but we have no legal attache to defend our worker?”

Puno said constitutional amendments will provide the key to prevent the country from breaking apart. With the coming elections, he said, with too many contending issues, not to mention the continuing aggression of China in the South China Sea, the country is in its most vulnerable state.

“The world has changed,” he said. “Other countries may take advantage of our own. Who could have predicted then that the Soviet Union would fall, China would rise, and globalization would come in? And still, we are getting the same problems. We can’t do the same thing over and over again and expect different results. That’s political insanity.”

The sooner the country can improve the constitution, he added, the better it would be for the people to stay together.


PHILSTAR

Palace defends gov't peace panel from treason raps By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated May 28, 2015 - 5:48pm


Government Peace Panel chair Miriam Coronel-Ferrer (rightmost) and Moro Islamic Liberation Cront chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal signs the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro in a ceremony at the Malacañang Presidential Palace in Manila, Philippines on Thursday, March 27, 2014. AP File photo

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang on Thursday defended members of the government peace panel now facing sedition and treason complaints over the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) and the peace accord with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

In a press briefing, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said Presidential Peace Adviser Teresita Deles and Peace Panel Chairperson Miriam Coronel Ferrer performed their duties well.

"Sa lahat ng pagkakataon, ginampanan ng ating mga opisyal ang kanilang tungkulin. Simula noong sila ay nanungkuluan ay naisulong nila ang proseso ng kapayapaan," Coloma said.

He said the efforts of the government peace panel led to the historic framework and comprehensive agreements on the Bangsamoro and their offshoot, the BBL.

READ MORE...
"Tila taliwas sa ganyang pananaw 'yung pagsasabi na sila ay gumawa ng krimen samantalang ang kanilang ginagampanan ay tungkulin na magsusulong sa kabutihan at kapakanan ng bansang Pilipinas," Coloma said.

Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza led the filing of the the criminal charges against the government peace panel due to the alleged unconstitutionality of some provisions of the BBL.

He said the peace panel acted "irresponsibly" when it pushed for the controversial measure even if some of its provisions were supposedly inconsistent with the 1987 Constitution.

Besides Deles and Ferrer, peace panel member Senen Bacani, former peace panel chair and now Supreme Court Justice Marvic Leonen and 18 others are facing sedition and treason complaints.

--------------------------------------------

Gov't negotiators to face treason raps for BBL By Patricia Lourdes Viray (philstar.com) | Updated May 28, 2015 - 11:00am


The government peace panel, headed by Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, will face criminal charges in relation to the unconstitutional provisions of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law. OPAPP

MANILA, Philippines — Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza and other personalities are set to file criminal charges against the government peace panel due to alleged unconstitutionality of some provisions of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

Atienza will file charges of treason and inciting to sedition against the peace panel before the Manila Prosecutor's Office on Thursday.

"Hindi dapat inumpisahan, pinagbasehan itong batas na ito sa unconstitutional provisions. Pinaasa natin ang mga kapatid nating Muslim na ito'y ating aaprubahan. Anong garantiya ng approval kung ito'y labag sa ating Konstitusyon?" Atienza said in an interview with dzMM on Thursday.

The lawmaker noted that the BBL may possibly cause confusion once it is implemented.

He said that the peace panel was irresponsible for pushing the BBL despite some of its provisions' inconsistency with the 1987 Constitution.

"'Yung ating peace panel, so-called, acted irresponsibly, sa tingin natin na ngayon ay naglalagay sa ating bansa headed for national crisis, sabi nga ni former Supreme Chief Justice Puno sapagkat talagang nalagay tayo sa alanganin. If we don't approve this, giyera. 'pag inaprubahan natin, gulo," Atienza added.

Atienza will file the charges with Abakada Party-list Rep. Jonathan dela Cruz, former Ambassador Jose Romero, University of Asia and the Pacific law professor Jeremy Gatdula and other individuals from the private sector.

Meanwhile, 12 senators agreed that the draft BBL needs revisions. Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago said that the draft is "essentially unconstitutional."


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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