Putting things in the right perspective, the BTA’s transition extension

My Legal Point

Bayan G. Balt

The purpose of transition is to prepare a politically unstable region to Democratic and stable political entity, thru election processes. Some says, the transition period should be three (3) years or less. In the case of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) of the BARMM, its interim members are requesting for another three (3) more years from June 2022 to June 2025 or a total of six (6) years from 2019, invoking among others the COVID-19, that may have hampered their work and the government’s alleged failure to comply with its obligations under the peace agreement, citing the unfinished Decommissioning (Res. No. 332 of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority).

Since the purpose of transition period is to bring back an undemocratic non- elected officials into democratically elected officials, an election must be held soon, some says the more you prolong the transition period, the more you shift to authoritarian rule devoid of people’s mandate. 

In Libya, the warring parties signed a Peace Agreement on 13 November 2020 and agreed that the transitional government election will be on 24 December 2021, the transition period is less than two (2) years (www.france24.com.middle east). In Sudan, it was reported that the transition period is three (3) years and three (3) months, the agreement reached in July 5, 2019 set the election on 2022 led by the Transitional Military Council (TMC) members for the first 21 months and a civilian member of the Sovereignty Council for the following 18 months (Wikipedia). Likewise, the Philippines has undergone transitional period from the Marcos dictatorship to President Corazon C. Aquino regime. After the February 1986 People’s power that brought President Aquino to Malacañang, she suspended the 1973 Marcos Constitution and order the crafting of the 1987 Constitution. After the later Constitution’s ratification in 2 February 1987, an election for new members of Congress was held on May 1987. (Chronology of the 1987 Phil. Constitution). Crystal clear, the transition period from Marcos Dictatorship to the new Aquino regime was one (1) year and little three (3) months.

Some critics argued that the present leadership in the BARMM, whose officials are not elected by the people being major stakeholders become a source of political instability, a situation resulting to inequitable distribution of powers and economic imbalance and to the extent unstable peace and order. Stated otherwise, a dictatorship is in the offing, as one Minister preside three (3) major ministries (DepEd, CHED an TESDA, Sec. 8, (f) Article XVI) the same is true in other ministries (Energy and DAF, Sec. 8, (k), Article XVI), effectively depriving other qualified professionals from other tribes the right of participation in said major agencies. Unofficial report of disgruntled MILF members joining the MNLF or BIFF, favored appointment of teachers and other officials and questionable distribution of infra. funds among LGUS in the BARMM become a serious concern among stakeholders.  

As one political scientist argued, that “appointed officials in an elective office are threat to democracy, they exercise absolute powers and are not answerable to the people whose loyalty is to the appointing authority”, (the principle of political legislation). Further said, the concept of a government having a legitimate mandate to govern via the fair winning of a democratic election is a central idea of representative democracy. Otherwise stated, a nation lead by leaders without the benefit of elections has no right to govern. As define exactly, this principle find basis under Article 21 of the United Nations (1948) Universal Declaration of Human Rights that” The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of the government”, (Cited in Drexel Law Review, Thomas R. Kline School of Law). At any rate, prolong transition is a monopoly of political and economic powers leading to nowhere, other than political instability.

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For comments: Email me at bayanbalt@yahoo.com

Atty. Bayan G. Balt is the former Chapter President of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP-Marawi City and Lanao del Sur, 2013-2015), Chairman of the Ranao Federal State Movement, (RFSM) and Pres. Of the Alliance of Regional Coalitions Against People’s Poverty (ARCAPP).

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