IN PHOTO- Former Supreme Court Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr, and one of the framers of the 1987 Constitution delivering his message during the forum.

JWGRLP conducts forum on BBL and religious freedom

MANILA, PHILIPPINES. July 8, 2018 - The Joint Working Group of Religious Leaders for Peace (JWGRLP) conducted a forum on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) and Religious Freedom held at Ramon Magsaysay Center, Roxas Blvd., Manila on July 7, 2018.

The said forum aimed to update members on the ongoing peace process between the GPH and the MILF particularly the status of BBL in congress.

The activity was presided by co - convenors PCEC Dr. Aldrin M. Penamora and Shiek Abdulhadie B. Gumander. 

Other convenors were represented by CBCP Archbishop Antonio J.  Ledesma, NCCP Rev. Al Senturias, LDS Elder Randy Gringshaw, Uniharmony Prof. Pablito Baydado, Jr. and other member-religious organizations. 

 Resource speakers were Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. and Atty. Christian S. Monsod, one of the framers of the 1987 Constitution. 

Chief Justice Davide in his message said, " Whatever happens to Mindanao, all of us are affected. No one will be spared from war that will cost billions of pesos and a thousand lives. "

" What happened in Marawi is an example on how our leaders now a days handle the problem and who should be blamed in this dilemma. "

" Our national leaders should be sensitive to the plight of our Moro brothers, their aspirations should be respected by giving them a BBL that is acceptable to them. " 

" It is a constitutional mandate and duty to pass BBL in correcting historical injustices. Bangsamoro government is not a privilege but a matter of right and BBL is an instrument of peace."

He concluded by saying, " I am against federalism but I subscribe that Bangsamoro Government by implementing the BBL can be a model for federalism. "

IN PHOTO- Atty. Christian S. Monsod, one of the framers of the 1987 Constitution during his presentation in the forum.

On the part of Atty.  Monsod, he articulated on the constitutionality of the Bangsamoro Basic Law. 

He said, " Bangsamoro is a constitutional mandate, imperative of correcting the injustices of the past."

 " BBL is extraordinarily special law and more importantly an embodiment of peace agreement of prolonged negotiations. "

 " Bangsamoro is unprecedented as an unfulfilled promise and model of equitable autonomy. "

He argued that, " The CAB has a history of over 20 years of peace negotiations and meant to implement the constitution, not to amend it. It is not an alternative to independence or secession, it's the alternative to war. The BBL as legislative embodiment of CAB should be accorded presumption of regularity and three departments of government should be allowed its role in the process. "

 " Thus, after the congress has exercised its legislative powers, there are still provisions on which sufficient consensus cannot be reached, those provisions should be left to the Supreme Court in the exercise of its judicial review. In the delicate system of checks and balances and separation of powers, it is the Supreme Court that is the final arbiter on the interpretation of the constitution. But it can only delete, it cannot legislate. "

 " In that process, various stakeholders must transcend the roles of proponents and opponents, and engage in a collective exercise of dialogue and consensus - building. As framers put it, the fulfillment of the constitutional mandate must be a shared vision of a nation. Democracy is about dialogue and compromise." He added. 

He contends that, " The Bangsamoro can be a model for social justice and human development that we have so far failed to do for the whole country. "

 " Distrust and fear are the roots of the opposition to or dilution of BBL." He lamented. 

The forum concluded by signing of statement by the convenors and members of the Joint Working Group of Religious Leaders for Peace (JWGRLP) supporting the passage of BBL that is consistent with the FAB and the CAB that will be submitted to the members of Bicameral Conference Committee on BBL.