SILENCE, amid the railroading of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, BBL for brevity, is criminal. It's like allowing the thief to enter the house through the backdoor, without a howl of protest, or horror, as the case may be. One becomes a co-conspirator, equally guilty as the author of the crime.

Of all the Filipinos, we from Mindanao should shout in protest. We cannot allow the territorial grab in even the areas where Christians are the majority. That would be a surrender of our nationhood.

Is BBL constitutional or not? This the Supreme Court will have to decide at the appointed time. That time will come.

Meanwhile, we have to dissect the substance, or the lack of it, of conceding sovereign rights to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

The MILF boasts of combatants at level of battalion formations, enough to repel the Philippine army from their declared territories. Well-armed, and may be seasoned fighters, but not necessarily disciplined, they pose in platoon formations during photo ops.

With the alleged 12,000 combatants, a long and protracted bloodbath in their claimed enclaves is assured. The war will ravage the entire nation. This is the mantra of MILF, and sadly, also of the government peace panel.

But we have to go behind the enemy lines to really know the nature of these so-called MILF combatants.

After talking to several Moro leaders, it is apparent that they are divided over whether BBL is good for them or not. Of utmost interest though is the recruitment and loyalty of the MILF combatants.

Our Moro brothers love guns. For them it is the symbol of strength. So when the MILF leaders dangle issuance of arms to Moro residents in their area of operation, they come in droves and register as members. Registering as members and loyalty, unfortunately, are two distinct concepts. They register so they can secure guns for free. But their loyalty still belongs to their recognized local leaders who are not necessarily MILF members.

These registered MILF combatants seek guidance from their local leaders. They owe their loyalties to the mayor, governor, barangay chairman, or clan leaders.

Thus, we have loose MILF combatants whose loyalties belong to the local leaders and not to the MILF central command.

Instantly, we can see the futility of the peace accord with the MILF leadership. Accordingly, the 12,000 strong combatants will lay down their arms upon the full implementation of the peace accord.

That may be good on paper and during photo ops. Fact is, our Moro brothers so love their guns that they consider them their "wives." Gun is simply a symbol of a Moro manhood. Moro houses are like armories if we have to count the guns they keep.

The Mamasapano massacre demonstrates the lack of command of the MILF leadership over their so-called combatants. More often, these combatants obey their local leaders and not the MILF central command.

No wonder though that even as we are talking peace, we have already a breakaway group known as the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter (BIFF). The violent ways of BIFF are beyond the control of the MILF central command.

Recall that when we had peace accord with the Moro National Liberation Front led by Nur Misuari, the MILF of Hashim Salamat became the mainstream. It is not a farfetch possibility that while the MILF receives around P500-billion from the national government as part of the peace package, the violent BIFF becomes the mainstream Moro rebellion.

Who would not want a peace accord? If there is any other, it is the Mindanaons who dream of peace in the promise land. But peace must be meaningful and substantive. What use is a peace accord if while we sign the final document, the Philippine army and the BIFF start shooting at each other.

If there be a peace accord, the agreement must be signed by the Moro leaders who have a real command over their combatants. Short of this, peace is doomed. We will only witness these so-called combatants shifting their allegiance to the BIFF and the mushrooming splinter groups.

BBL is not a the road to peace. It is good on paper but not on the ground.

If we from Mindanao cannot howl in protest as BBL is being railroaded in Congress, then become co-conspirators with the congressmen who are willing to sell their souls for few silver coins from the palace.