By Ali G. Macabalang
COTABATO CITY – Key proponents for an extended Bangsamoro government transitional period are set for another audience today, Tuesday in Malacañang, during which President Rodrigo Duterte will likely sign into law the enabling bill in keeping with building the new autonomous region in Mindanao as his administration’s legacy.
Maguindanao 2nd District Rep. Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu, lead author of the House-ratified Bill No. 10121, told the Bangsamoro Press Corps (BPC) in its Sunday, Oct. 24, episode of the online “Tapatan” Forum that he was among key officials asked by the Chief Executive for another round of meeting today.
“Inshaallah (God willing), itong Tuesday na pagpunta namin with other leaders and, of course, the government of the day (in BARMM), he will finally sign. He will finally affix his signature to our enrolled bill…Ito na yong hinahanap natin lahat, hindi lang siya, na kapayapaan,” Mangudadatu said.
Last Oct. 20, the lawmaker alongside Bangsamoro interim Chief Minister Ahod “Hadji Murad” Ebrahim, Ebrahim and is cabinet key members meet the President in Malacañang amid rumors about dissenters’ campaign for Presidential veto of ratified Senate Bill 2214 and House Bill 10121.
Interim Bangsamoro government Spokesman Naguib Sinarimbo, in a post shortly after the Oct. 20 audience, said the Chief Executive was “enlightened” about the proponent officials’ briefing for a couple of hours.
Sinarimbo thanked the President “for listening carefully for nearly two hours to those who have always taken the road to peace, albeit long and winding, and journeyed with you in ensuring that one of your greatest legacies continues way beyond your term.”
On Sunday, Mangudadatu said the President will neither veto nor let the bill to lapse into law after certifying it urgent.
“Hindi niya pababayaan iyong pinermahan niyang urgent bill…na hayan niya maglapse into law dahil sa kagustohan ng iilang nag-oopose…The President is very prudent (in deciding). Hindi niya hahayaan ng mag-lapse into law ang House Bill 10121,” he averred.
The Senate-House bicameral conference on Sept. 21 to harmonize SB 2214 and HB 10121, adopting substantially a lower chamber’s provision that gives President Duterte the discretion to retain present members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) or appoint new members.
The 80-seat BTA is the interim ruling body of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). It is presently composed of members appointed by President Duterte for a term ending on June 230, 2022.
But Mangudadatu explained that the next President may revamp the BTA composition based on performance results.
At Sunday’s interview in the “Tapatan” with the BPC, Mangudadatu said he would also take time in today’s meeting to inform the President about his perceived escalation of political tension in Maguindanao where the ruling United Bangsamoro Justice Party (UBJP) fielded as gubernatorial candidate in reciprocation to his vital role in the passage of the Senate and House bills.
He cited as examples the explosion along the highway of Guindulongan, Maguindanao while his convoy was passing through on Saturday (Oct. 23) night, a failed attempt on his life by an alleged political henchman, dismal attention from the provincial police and other related concerns. (Read a separate story by the Philippine Muslim Today news.)
Meanwhile, according to supporters of incumbent Maguindanao Gov. Mariam Sangki-Mangudadatu and husband Gov. Sukarto “Teng” Mangudadatu, the couple would attend Today’s Palace meeting.
The UBJP, official political party of reigning BARMM and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) officials, had pointed to the duo as among political quarters allegedly involved in “discrete” maneuvers first to block the deliberation of the Senate and House bills and later for a Presidential veto.
The couple has yet to comment on the UBJP’s claim, even as persistent efforts by the PMT and the BPC to get their official reactions proved in vain so far. (AGM)
(FEATURED PHOTO: Interim Chief Minister Ahod “Hadji Murad” Ebrahim with the Chief Executive at the Palace on October 20, 2021.)