MANILA – Senate President Franklin Drilon and Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez stated that the Philippine Constitution Association’s (Philconsa) move to challenge two preliminary agreements in relation to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace process was premature.
The lawmakers referred to Philconsa’s petition against the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) which were signed by the Philippine government and the MILF.
Drilon believed that the case filed was ‘patently premature’ as the national government had not yet implemented the agreements which still needed to be made into laws.
He also affirmed that the petition would not delay the hearings on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). The Senate, for its part, will review the BBL as scheduled.
“Until the BBL is passed, the existing ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) charter will govern. The petition cannot be a basis to postpone the debates on the BBL,” Drilon said in a text message to the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Rodriguez agreed with Drilon and deemed that the case filed ‘had no cause of action.’
“I believe the Supreme Court will dismiss this. It will not grant them a TRO or injunction because the rights are not yet violated as the agreements have yet to be implemented,” he said.
Rodriguez stated that Philconsa could have petitioned after the BBL was crafted.
“That’s the only time they can say there are things that are unconstitutional. So there is no pressure or effect on the Senate or the House. We are going to continue in the House by August,” he clarified.
The lawmaker also disclosed that Philconsa should have known that their case was premature.
“Why do you think they did not file at that time? They did not file because it was really premature. This time, it is still premature. That is why I don’t know how Philconsa, which is very knowledgeable about this, can file this case,” he asked.
Philconsa president and Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, however, hoped that the Supreme Court would come up with a sound resolution on their case.
“We should allow the Supreme Court to decide on the constitutionality of the peace agreement. The high tribunal is the final arbiter of all legal conflicts that divide the nation. I believe the Supreme Court will rule in the best interest of the country,” Romualdez said.