2 PH gov’t-MILF deals cited as unconstitutional

By , on June 20, 2015


(2nd right) PHILCONSA president and Leyte (1st Dist) Rep.Ferdinand Martin "FM" G. Romualdez  (Photo from Romualdez' website)
(2nd right) Philconsa president and Leyte (1st Dist) Rep.Ferdinand Martin “FM” G. Romualdez (Photo from Romualdez’ website)

MANILA – Two agreements signed by both the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) were unconstitutional, according to the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) and former Negros Oriental Representative Jacinto Paras.

They were referring to the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

The FAB laid down guidelines in establishing an autonomous entity. The CAB, on the other hand, was the final peace agreement between national government and the MILF.

The FAB was negotiated and signed by former government peace panel chief Marvic Mario Victor F. Leonen on October 12, 2012. The CAB, conversely, was negotiated and signed by incumbent government chief peace negotiator Miriam Coronel Ferrer and MILF peace panel head Mohagher Iqbal on March 27, 2014.

These accords supposedly allowed the creation of a Bangsamoro government.

Philconsa and Paras, however, challenged the FAB and CAB. They have then filed petitions to the Supreme Court asking for the declaration of the said agreements as unconstitutional.

According to Philconsa, the two ‘unconstitutional agreements would grant unconscionable’ economic, political and social benefits to the MILF. They also argued that the MILF peace process violated Executive Order No. 125, which required the presence of ‘one each from the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the Cabinet’ as appointed by the President.

“Contrary to and in violation of EO 125, the GPNPs (Government Peace Negotiating Panels) were not assisted by the panel of advisers. The different GPNPs conducted numerous negotiations, dialogues and face-to-face discussions with the MILF, here and abroad bereft of the presence of the requisite panel of advisers,” the association said.

Paras, on the other hand, compared the FAB and CAB to the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD), which was already declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

“Like the MOA-AD, the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, particularly its Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro and its corresponding annexes, were negotiated and signed without any public consultation,” he said.

“This means that the herein respondents acted in a whimsical, capricious, oppressive, arbitrary, and despotic manner when they negotiated and caused the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, particularly its Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro and its corresponding annexes,” he added.

With these new issues raised amidst the uncertain BBL bill in the Senate, the Mindanao peace process is likely to take a detour.