Another plea filed vs Bangsamoro Framework deal

Posted at 12/03/2012 4:04 PM | Updated as of 12/03/2012 6:20 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Another group has urged the Supreme Court (SC) to declare as unconstitutional the recently signed Bangsamoro Framework Agreement between government (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

In their capacity as taxpayers, Rev. Vicente Libradores Aquino, Rev. Mercidita S. Redoble, and International Ministries for Perfection and Party Against Communism and Terrorism, Inc. (IMPPACT, Inc.) filed a petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus against former GPH Peace Panel chief negotiator and newly appointed SC Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, and peace panel members.

The petition states that the framework agreement is violative of the 1987 Constitution.

The petition pointed out that while the Constitution provides that "[t]here shall be created autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao..." the creation of a "Bangsamoro" is nowhere mentioned.

Petitioners said this is similar to the Bangsamoro Juridicial Entity that was intended to be formed during the Arroyo administration but was struck down by the high court.

By abolishing and replacing the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) with Bangsamoro, the GPH peace panel "acted without or in excess of its jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction," petitioners claimed.

In doing so, petitioners further stated that the GPH panel "has usurped the power of Congress to enact, amend or repeal laws vested on it by the Constitution."

The petition also assailed the description of the Bangsamoro government in the agreement as that of a ministerial form.

Petitioners pointed out that a ministerial form of government allows the holding of regular or at random elections "depending on the loss of confidence of the Prime Minister or any person vested with authority to call for special elections."

"This most certainly will wreak havoc on our present electoral system. This will arrogate on the powers of the Commission on Elections to conduct elections are provided for in the Constitution," the petition read.

Petitioners also argued that the framework agreement is "inconsistent" with prevailing laws, such as Republic Act (RA) No. 9054, also known as the Organic Act for the ARMM.

They also pointed out that the creation of a Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) as indicated in the framework agreement, is similar to the "transition" discussed in the failed Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) declared unconstitutional by the high court.

The petition also hit the "asymmetric" relationship between the Bangsamoro government and the Philippine government. Petitioners said this is not provided for in the Constitution.

"This is meant to confuse the people into accepting its legality. The definitions provided by some authoritative dictionaries is that asymmetry is not straight, uniform or symmetrical; it is unevenly arranged; it is out of balance; it is not the same on both sides; it is not a mirror image on both sides.

"In other words, the Bangsamoro Government is not like the Central Government. It is a different entity. Is this a camouflage for independence?" the petition read.

The petition also questioned the core territory of the Bansamoro, as well as the provision in the framework agreement for possible proposals to amend the Constitution. 

Earlier on Monday, Elly Pamatong filed a similar petition also assailing the legality of the framework agreement.

Both urged the Supreme Court to immediately restrain government from implementing the deal.