Palace loses ancestral domain case with 8-7 SC vote

Posted at 10/14/2008 12:18 PM | Updated as of 10/14/2008 12:22 PM

In a display of independence, the Supreme Court has struck down the scuttled ancestral domain agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front that would have opened the country to dismemberment.

Voting 8-7, the Tribunal ruled on the merits of the petition questioning the constitutionality of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain that would have expanded the coverage of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao under the BangsaMoro Juridical Entity.

The clincher was provided by Senior Justice Leonardo Quisumbing who was the last one to submit his vote. Quisumbing is the only magistrate in the 15-man body who is not an appointee of President Arroyo, having been named to the Court by then President Ramos before he stepped down in 1998. He retires as member of the High Court next year.

The minority’s position was to declare the anti-MOA petitions as moot since the Palace has already decided not to pursue the signing of the agreement following a public backlash. This would have given the Palace a graceful exit, if not, defeat.

The majority decision was penned by Associate Justice Conchita-Carpio Morales.