Understanding the term of members of the BARMM’s Parliament (Pros and Cons)

Atty. Bayan G. Balt

Talks in several coffee shops and the social media are dominated by issues affecting the term of the present members of the BARMM Parliament. The issues revolved on two (2) simple questions; these are: 1). Can the incumbent President appoint a new set of members of the Parliament or 2). Will the present members continue to serve till June 30, 2025 under a hold over capacity.

In order to get a perspective comprehension of the issues, it is necessary to revisit the provisions of R.A. No. 11054 and its amendment R.A. No. 11593. Thus,

Article VII- Section 11. Terms of Office. – The term of office of members of the Parliament shall be three (3) years: Provided, That no member shall serve for more than three consecutive terms. xx xx

The above provision is qualified by Article XVI, thus,

Section 2. Bangsamoro Transition Authority. – There is hereby created a Bangsamoro Transition Authority which shall be the interim government in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region during the transition period. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front shall lead the Bangsamoro Transition Authority, without prejudice to the participation of the Moro National Liberation Front in its membership.

The Bangsamoro Transition Authority shall be composed of eighty (80) members, who shall be appointed by the President xx xx 

Pres. Duterte appointed the 80 Members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) on February 20, 2019. The BTA itself was constituted on February 22, 2019 when its first set of members took their oath. The inaugural session began on March 29, 2019 and ended on April 23, 2020. R.A. 11054 does not provide a fixed term for appointed members of the Parliament, however it is worth to mention Sec. 12 of Article XVI of R.A. 11054, thus,

            “Dissolution of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority. – Immediately upon the election and qualification of the Chief Minister under the first Parliament, the Bangsamoro Transition Authority shall be deemed dissolved”.

            There was no election held for the Chief Minister under the first parliament neither a parliamentary election; proponents argue that the present Bangsamoro Transition Authority life span subsist while the present members can continue in office until the elections and qualifications of their successors, or till June 30, 2025. This view may find no legal basis according to some stakeholders in the region, they argued, thus, First, members of the present parliament has no fix term, hence they can be replaced by the President at his pleasure as appointing authority, Second, assuming that the present members of BARMM parliament has a 3 year term reckoned with the 3 year term of the BTA, they are presumed  holding an elective position, (despite being appointed), whose term is fixed for three (3) years under the Philippine Constitution, consequently, they cannot stay in office beyond February 22, 2022, likewise, they cannot invoke a holdover capacity without violating the Constitution, and Third, The incumbent president was authorized by R.A. 11593 (Extending the BTA and postponing the Elections in BARMM) to appoint a new set of members of the parliament, thus,

“During the extension of the transition period, the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) will continue to serve as the BARMM interim government.

The President, however, may appoint the 80 new interim members of the BTA who will serve until June 30, 2025 or until the election and qualifications of their successors”, (RA 11593).

            Crystal clear, what was extended by R.A. 11593 is the term of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority or BTA, an office distinct and separate from the 80 members of the parliament. Undoubtedly, the present incumbent members of the BTA parliament must secured a new appointment before their terms expired on February 22, 2022, otherwise their appointment will be an issue.

Corollary, the President, at his discretion, may appoint the 80 members of parliament on or before March 9, 2022, the timeline on the prohibition of midnight appointment and or March 25, 2022 before the Elections ban on appointment. Meanwhile, it was reported by the media that President Rodrigo Duterte will consider appointing a new set of Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA). Malacañang said on Tuesday. November 2, 2021 (PNA)

On the contrary, If the President failed to appoint the new set of 80 members of the parliament, before the timeline time set mentioned, there shall arise a vacuum in the bureaucracy which is not conducive to the region’s political stability.

__________________________________________

            For comments: Email me at bayanbalt@yahoo.com

Atty. Bayan G. Balt is past chapter President of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP-Marawi City and Lanao del Sur, 2013-2015), and Chairman of the Ranao Federal State Movement, (RFSM).

One thought on “Understanding the term of members of the BARMM’s Parliament (Pros and Cons)

  1. But granting that President Rodrigo Duterte failed to appoint new set of BTA Members as you said might ensue vacuum in bureaucracy. But can the the provision mentioned: “Dissolution of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority. – Immediately upon the election and qualification of the Chief Minister under the first Parliament, the Bangsamoro Transition Authority shall be deemed dissolved”, be used by present 80 Parliament Members “as co-terminus” with BTA dissolution pending the election of Parliament and consequently selection of Chief Minister in a regular election?

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