My Legal Point
Atty. Bayan G. Balt
In any situation and under no circumstance, Congress cannot be deprived of its Constitutional power of Inquiry and or to investigate any agency or instrumentalities of the government in “aid of legislation.” Section 21, Article VI of the Constitution provides: “The Senate or the House of Representatives or any of its respective committees may conduct inquiries in aid of legislation in accordance with its duly published rules of procedure.
Recently, Congress was asked to extend the term of the “BTA” for another three years more from June 2022 to June 2025 as contained in BARMM Parliament Res. No. 332. Five Bills have been filed in the House of Representatives and one in the Senate supporting the proposed extension.
In the House of Representatives, Congressman Mujiv Hataman filed a Resolution to conduct a midterm review of the “BTA” before the approval of the proposed extension. It was reported that the “BARMM” leadership speaking thru its Spokesman DILG Minister Naguib Sinarimbo opposed the midterm review. Worth to mention is that the “BTA” is an agency of the government and that its officials and employees shall at all times be accountable to the people and uphold public interest over personal interest (RA 6713).
The consensus report among BARMM’s constituents is for “BTA” to submit to Congress midterm review, not only to inform Congress their accomplishments for the last two years but likewise afford Congress an insight of what things to be done, if ever extension is granted. An extension of “BTA” existence without a road map to arrive the finish line would be meaningless, if not a mockery of our political processes. Stated otherwise, a midterm review will open the gate of transparency which is essential to moral governance. Without moral governance, our region will be thrown into the abyss of chaos and anarchy.
As suggested by some peace advocates, Congress may extend the “BTA” after a midterm review, however it can likewise repeal unjust and discriminatory provisions of the “BOL” such as monopoly of powers thru bifurcating major agencies held by one tribe, the re-accommodation of unjust terminated ARMM workers, the environmental and power sharing of lake Lanao’s wealth and the political restructuring of the administrative system with three Chief Ministers and one common parliament. Unless these vital issues are addressed by Congress, peace will find hard to achieve in “BARMM”.
In Islam the foundation of moral governance is Justice. The holy Quran describes good governance as the law of justice, a just and principled order and compliance of rights and responsibilities in a society. Thus: “O you who believe stand up as a witness for Allah (swt.) in all fairness, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just, this is closest to piety” (Al-Maidah, 5:8). Clearly when there’s no justice because there is no equal distribution of powers but monopoly of powers, there can be no moral governance. In rich countries, they economically prosper because they honor their agreement and commitment. When the “BOL” was enacted into law, both the MILF and the Congress agreed to a three year terms to be followed by elections in year 2022. The agreed provisions were approved by the constituents of “BARMM”, any change need the approval of our constituents. Islamic teachings despise non-compliance of an agreement entered into between parties. BGB