You are on page 1of 3

HonorAndPeace

(ThePhilippineStar)|UpdatedJanuary31,201512:00am

Ithoughtthattodaywouldbeapropitioustimetotackleaconstitutional
lawissue.OnJan.31,1801,thelegendaryJohnMarshall,authorofthe
controversialpowerofjudicialreviewasintroducedintheseminalcaseof
Marbury vs. Madison, was appointed Chief Justice of the UnitedStates
SupremeCourt.Onthesamedate64yearslater,theUSCongresspassed
the13thAmendmentoftheConstitution,abolishingslaveryandsubmitting
ittothevariousstatesforratification.
Asanation,wearealsoatacrossroadaswedebatetheprosandconsofthe
Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). This column intended to focus on the
constitutional issues. But given the Maguindanao massacrepart II last
Sunday,thelegalshouldwait.
Truly, the decision whether to grant greater autonomy to predominantly
Muslim geographical areas is complicated as it encompasses economic,
commercial,cultural,social,historical,religiousandterritorial/sovereignty
issues. Soweall needtolookbeyondthelegal aspectand consider the
biggerpicture.Wealsohavetokeepanopenmindandexaminevarious
alternativesasweseektoformulateaninformedjudgmentonthematter.
Andasiftheissueswerenotcomplexenough,theMamasapanodebacle
takes place. The bloodof 44 members of the PhilippineNational Police
special actionforceandtheirBIFFprotagonistshavebeenspilledinthe
junglesofMaguindanao.Thisnotonlyservesasamajordistractionbutalso
castsacloudofgloomintheworkofthelegislatureandintheentirepeace
process.BothhousesofCongresshavealreadystoppedthehearingsonthe
BBLandhaveinitiatedinquiriesinaidoflegislationsomuchsothatinstead
offocusingonthebill,theyaredwellingonthekilling.Untilbasicquestions
havebeenanswered,somehavecalledforahalttothedeliberationsonthe
bills.Ontheotherhand,othersbelievethattheincidentprovidesgreater
impetusforgovernmenttointensifyitseffortstocomeupwithaneffective
solutiontoestablishalonglastingpeaceinMindanao.Indeed,thefatalities
of the 45year insurgency have reached 120,000 with over 2 million
inhabitants displaced. It has also stunted thegrowth of resourcerich but

underdevelopedMindanao.TheballisonthecourtoftheMILFtocooperate
with duly constituted authorities and show good faith by producing the
culprits. And we should suspend judgment until more established facts
becomeavailableinthedaystocome.
Meanwhile,letusallmournandhonorthesacrificeofourSAFheroes.We
shouldalsoextendassistancetotheirfamilies.Inasmuchastheydiedinthe
lineofdutyservingourcountry,theirdeathsshouldbealsoservedwith
justice.
Priceofpeace:Thereweretwoeloquentpaidadvertisementsrelatedtothe
BBLandtheMamasapanomassacre.
Fourteenoutofthe18survivingmembers(fourwereoutofcommission)of
the48member1986ConstitutionalCommissioncameoutwithastatement
insupportoftheBBL.Toillustratethepointthatthecauseofpeacehasa
price,itrecalledthestoryofhowthe1978IsraelEgyptpeaceagreementthat
wassignedbyPresidentAnwarSadatandPrimeMinisterMenachemBegin
despiteitsacknowledgedshortcomingsrestoredstabilitytoitsbordersthat
laststothisday.Apparentlythetalkshadreachedastalemateandthatthe
partieswereabouttodepartwithoutapeaceaccord.Adiscussionbetween
Prime Minister Begin and US President Jimmy Carter about the type of
worldtheirgrandchildrenwouldgrowupinledtheformertoreconsiderthe
nonnegotiableIsraelipositionofnotreturningcertainannexedterritories
toEgypt.Our1986commissionersdescribedthisbreakthroughaspeace
makingwithoutbordersandselflimitingmentalmodels.Theyadded:But
there is always a price to pay for any worthy vision as Sadat was
assassinatedbydisgruntledmembersofthe(Egyptian)militaryin1981but
notbeforeheandBeginwereawardedtheNobelPiecePrize.
Butletusrecallanotherpeacetreatyinthe20thcentury.Inthemid1930s,
AdolfHitlersNaziGermanywasbecomingincreasinglyaggressiveandhad
forciblyoccupiedAustria.ItthensetitseyesontheSudetenlandregionof
Czechoslovakia.StillrecoveringfromWorldWarIandlookingtoavoid
anotherwar,BritishPrimeMinisterNevilleChamberlainchampionedthe
appeasementstrategyandsignedthe1938MunichAgreementwithHitler
allowing Germany to take over Sudetenland. Chamberlain triumphantly

returnedtoLondondeclaringthatwehavepeaceinourtimes.Astheysay,
therestishistoryforayearlater.GermanyattackedPoland.
***
InafullpagemanifestoentitledMamasapano:Achallengetostandfor
peace,membersoftheAteneodeDavaoUniversitycommunityask:Why
didweagaintakethepathofgunsandviolenceandcovertsecretactionto
solveanyproblem,whenwehadalreadychosen,wehadalreadyagreed,that
we would take the path of negotiation, consultation and trust to solve
problems?WhydidwenotrespectwhatweagreedtointheImplementing
OperationalGuidelinesofthe1997GRPMILFAgreementontheGeneral
Cessation of Hostilities: Police and Military actions and
administrative/logisticactivitiesshallcontinuetobeundertakenbytheGRP
throughout Mindanao and the entire country. In the pursuit thereof,
confrontationalsituationsbetweentheGRPandtheMILFforcesshallbe
avoidedbypriorcoordinationwiththelatter.(ArticleII)
Doesthisprovisionmeanthatourpolicewillneedtocoordinate(notify?)
with the MILF before they can perform their enforcement work within
MILFcontrolledareas?Isthisnotaviolationofthenationsterritorialhonor
andsovereignty?Ifourpolicearepursuingafugitivefromjusticeduringa
covertmission,willnottheobligationtocoordinatepotentiallyjeopardize
theoperation?Alastingpeaceisnotonlyjust,itmustalsobehonorableand
honored.
***
Itisnotenoughtowinawar;itismoreimportanttoorganizethepeace.
Aristotle