Proposed Bangsamoro gov’t a political hybrid | Inquirer News

Proposed Bangsamoro gov’t a political hybrid

By: - Deputy Day Desk Chief / @TJBurgonioINQ
/ 06:07 AM September 12, 2014



MANILA, Philippines–The proposed Bangsamoro government will be parliamentary but its political system will be democratic, according to the draft law that would carve a new, self-governing region for the Bangsamoro in southern Philippines.

As such, Bangsamoro will have a government headed by a chief minister, not by a governor like the head of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), according to the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law submitted by President Aquino to Congress on Wednesday.


The proposed Bangsamoro autonomous region, however, will be under the general supervision of the President.


“The Constitution does not prohibit that structure of governance at the local level. There is no prohibition on the provision of a parliamentary form of government at the local level,” Senate President Franklin Drilon said in an interview on Thursday.

Its ratification in a plebiscite would make the Bangsamoro Basic Law “superior to ordinary legislation,” Drilon said.

“The basic law can provide for the parliamentary system and especially that the basic law will become effective only upon the ratification of the people themselves,” he said.

Democratic system

In Article 4, the draft law states that the Bangsamoro will be parliamentary, but its political system will be democratic, allowing its people to participate in political processes.

It also says that the Bangsamoro will adopt an electoral system “suitable to a ministerial form of government.”


In a briefer on the draft basic law posted on the government website, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (Opapp) says the parliamentary system is a form of government where the executive is formed by the legislature, i.e., the chief executive is elected by the legislature. Hence, the chief executive is indirectly elected.

Opapp defines democracy as a system of government that derives its legitimacy from the people. It says eligible citizens can participate in the election of their representatives in the government.

Constitutional provision

The Constitution, Opapp says, allows a parliamentary system of government, but defers to the wisdom of Congress on the determination of the appropriate government structures for local government units and autonomous regions.

Opapp cites Section 18, Article 10 of the Constitution, which states: “The Congress shall enact an organic act for each autonomous region with the assistance and participation of the regional consultative commission composed of representatives appointed by the President from a list of nominees from multisectoral bodies. The organic act shall define the basic structure of government for the region consisting of the executive department and legislative assembly, both of which shall be elective and representative of the constituent political units.”

For the proposed Bangsamoro autonomous region, Opapp says, the organic act is the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

Under the draft law, the Bangsamoro government is democratic because all members of Parliament will be elected as representatives of the Bangsamoro people, Opapp says.

Bangsamoro Parliament

The powers of the Bangsamoro will be vested in the Parliament, which will be composed of 60 members and will exercise executive and legislative functions.

The executive authority will be exercised by the Bangsamoro Cabinet that will be headed by the chief minister. The chief minister will be elected by a majority vote of the Parliament.

The chief minister will head the Bangsamoro government. On the other hand, the titular head of the Bangsamoro government is called wali.

Drilon could not say how the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) intended to set up a parliamentary government.

“I am not aware if there is a model, but this is not unusual. Even in the local governments in Europe, you will find that this is not an unusual setup,” he said.

“It will be challenged, I’m sure. But we believe we can stand constitutional challenges, especially that it will be ratified by the people,” he added.

Council of leaders

The Bangsamoro will have its own council of leaders consisting of the chief minister, provincial governors, mayors of chartered cities and representatives from the non-Moro indigenous communities, women, settler communities and other sectors.

The council will be chaired by the chief minister. It will advise the chief minister on matters of government.

Drilon also agreed that the draft law provision that the President will exercise general supervision over the Bangsamoro complies with the Constitution.

“That is in the Constitution. You cannot remove that. The President must exercise general supervision over local governments, over the Bangsamoro juridical entity,” Drilon said.

Drilon said the bill would be filed on Monday, and then referred to the committees on local government, and peace and unification for hearing.

“There are no marching orders. But I address it to their sense of responsibility that we should pass this with enough time for ratification and the constitution of a Transition Commission, so that by May of 2016, we can already elect these officials of the new Bangsamoro juridical entity and by July of 2016 they can already assume office,” he said.

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Drilon acknowledged that approval of the proposed basic law by March 2015 is a self-imposed deadline that he and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. have set.

TAGS: peace process

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