Baseless accusations won’t affect determination of gov’t to push peace process – Palace

By , on March 6, 2015

President Benigno S. Aquino III presides over the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board Meeting at the Aguinaldo State Dining Room of the Malacañan Palace on Monday (February 16, 2015). Also in photo (from left) are Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr.; Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo; Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr.; Secretary to the Cabinet Jose Rene Almendras; Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima and Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon Jesus Paje. (Photo by Lauro Montellano Jr./Malacañang Photo Bureau/PNA)
President Benigno S. Aquino III presides over the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board Meeting on February 16, 2015. (Photo by Lauro Montellano Jr./Malacañang Photo Bureau/PNA)

MANILA – Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. on Thursday said baseless accusations will not affect the determination of President Benigno Aquino III to push the peace process in Mindanao.

”The determination of the President and government to push the peace process will not be moved by these baseless accusations,” Coloma said.

Coloma was referring to plan of Atty. Homobono Adaza to file treason charges against the President, members of the peace panel and Congress in relation to the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) which being dubbed as ‘unconstitutional.’

Coloma said Congress should consider the comments and opinions of the Constitutional Commission (ConCom) members in determining the constitutionality of the BBL.

”It will be better to use as basis the opinions by the members of the Constitutional Commission because they are the one who crafted the Constitution. They said the important principle on that is about the social justice and human development,” Coloma said.

Coloma said 14 members of the 1987 Constitutional Commission have maintained that the BBL conformed with the provisions of the 1987 Constitution based the human development and social justice aspects.

”According to them, ‘The core principle of the 1987 Constitution in mandating a special status for the autonomous regions is the human development of the people of Muslim Mindanao and the Cordilleras. Hence, the public conversation should not be about semantics but about people—their needs, their aspirations, their choices — and about empowering them with the environment and institutional framework for social justice. Social justice that calls for genuine social change is the central theme of the 1987 Constitution; and here, it is broader in scope and intent than in the 1973 and the 1935 Constitutions,” Coloma explained, quoting the comments of the 1987 ConCom members.

”And they emphasized this in their statement: ‘An interpretation of any relevant provision of the Constitution that results in war and abject poverty would be contrary to its intention,’ he added,

Coloma said the constitutionalists also said: “In this manner, Bangsamoro can be a model for us to do the same for the rest of the country and thereby build together a more just and peaceful nation. We fully support the creation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.”

Coloma, however, emphasized that Malacanang will leave to leadership of Congress the final decision on the proposed BBL.

”We respect the principle of separation of powers,” Coloma said.

Both the Senate and Congress have suspended the BBL deliberations following the Mamasapano encounter between the Special Action Force (SAF) and the combined forces of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) last Jan. 25.

The bloody encounter that left 44 SAF men dead has prompted the lawmakers to review the proposed BBL due to the involvement of the MILF fighters.