Retired officers' anti-BBL statement puzzles MILF
Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) - September 16, 2015 - 4:30am

MANILA, Philippines - The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is puzzled by the motive of retired officers who issued a statement expressing alarm over the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

The MILF questioned the timing of the statement, noting that the former senior officers spoke out against the BBL as Congress is deliberating on the measure.

“Why did they speak now when the BBL is already on the verge of passing (or not passing) in Congress and the election fever is already felt strongly? The truth is that they may have the best of intentions but the timing seems not perfect,” the group said in an editorial posted on its website luwaran.com.

“While we respect their views and the reasons for coming out with the manifesto but we keep asking ourselves why only now and why?” it added.

In a full page advertisement published in The STAR last Tuesday, 31 retired officers from the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, Philippine Coast Guard, Bureau of Fire Protection, and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology said the BBL, the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) and the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) violate the constitution.

“We have experienced the sacrificial demands of war and all its horrors and we realize the need for all Filipinos to be united against any threat, internal and external, that will dismember our nation, degrade our sovereignty and violate the Philippine constitution,” the statement read.

The former officers said the FAB, the CAB and the BBL in its original form are “seriously flawed” because they seek to establish a political entity that has all the makings of a state and therefore has an effect of creating “a state within the state.”

They also believe that it is wrong to presume that the MILF is representative of the major stakeholders like the Sultanate of Sulu, the Moro National Liberation Front, Lumads or indigenous peoples and Christians.

The retired officers also claimed that the agreements have “grievously failed to provide very clear terms of the demobilization of the MILF forces and the decommissioning of all types of weaponry in its control and possession.”

The MILF said it could not figure out why the former officers view the agreements as unconstitutional considering that security forces were deeply involved in the peace process.

“As to their support for the declaration of the CAB as unconstitutional and void, we find it also very hard to understand the wisdom. Such an eventuality would have radical and adverse consequence to the whole peace process and ceasefire with the MILF,” the group said.

The retired officers who signed the statement include Association of General and Flag Officers Inc. president Edilberto Adan, Filipino War Veterans Foundation Inc. chairman Renato de Villa, Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Alumni Association Inc. chairman Noli Espejo, Natinal ROTC Alumni Association Inc. chairman Amado Sanglay, Philippine National Police Retirees Association Inc. chairman Van  Luspo, former Armed Forces chief Generoso Senga, KAMPILAN Inc. president Raul Urgello, and former Armed Forces Civil Relations Service chief Emiliano Templo.

Other signatories are former Armed Forces chief Alexander Yano, former Navy chief Tagumpay Jardiniano, Veteran Generals and Flag Officers Federation founder and chairman Rodrigo Gutang, former Armed Forces chief Efren Abu, former Navy chief Eduardo Ma. Santos, former Philippine National Police chief Umberto Rodriguez, former Armed Forces chief Dionisio Santiago, PMA Alumni Association Business, Industry and Retired Chapter Inc. president Melchor Rosales, Cavaliers 57 Inc. chairman Ismael Musico, former Armed Forces Vice Chief Alfredo Filler, retired Navy Commodore Rogelio Dayan, former Marines chief Guillermo Ruiz, former Armed Forces Southern Command chief Jose Magno Jr., and retired Navy commodore Vicente Buenaventura.

Other officers who signed the statement are RAM Foundation Inc. founder Danilo Lim, former dean of PMA College of Professors Cesar Pobre, Fraternal Organization of ROTC Reservists and Veterans Inc. president Miguel Sol, National ROTC Alumni Association Philippine Air Force Chapter president Manuel Ramiro, Kapisanan ng Kawal Mindanao president Liberato Lazo, National ROTC Alumni Association General Headquarters Chapter president Michaelangelo Siscar, retired Police Deputy Director General Agerico Kagaoan, Philippine Defense and Armed Forces Attache Association president Carlos Agustin, and The Last Watering Hole Inc. president Ramon Resultay. 

ACIRC ALUMNI ASSOCIATION INC ARMED ARMED FORCES ASSOCIATION CHIEF FORCES FORMER INC OFFICERS PRESIDENT
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