MANILA, Philippines – Newly appointed Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen inhibited from handling the petitions questioning the constitutionality of the framework Bangsamoro peace agreement.
Prior to his appointment, Leonen was head of the government peace panel in talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Lawyer Elly Pamatong and religious leaders from Mindanao questioned the constitutionality of the Framework Agreement.
Pamatong, in his petition, said the Framework Agreement was similar to the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD), which was junked by the high court.
He added that the agreement was also a “unilateral abrogation” of the Tripoli Agreement among the GPH, Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), and the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC).
Reverend Vicente Libradores Aquino, Rev. Marcidita Redoble and the International Ministries for Perfect and Party Against Communism and Terrorism (IMPPACT, Inc.) said the government peace panel abused its discretion hence it bounded the entire government to acts that violate the Constitution.
They told the high court that the framework agreement which stipulated the creation of a Bangsamoro government in five provinces—Basilan, Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Sulu and Tawi-tawi and the cities of Marawi, Cotabato and Isabela and six other municipalities of North Cotabato were all covered by the 1976 Tripoli Agreement.
With the implementation of the Framework Agreement, they said this would nullify the 1976 Tripoli Agreement and the 1996 Final Peace Agreement.
Petitioners pointed out that the existence of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) was by virtue of the 1976 Tripoli Agreement, an international treaty recognized by the Organization of Islamic Conference and the 1996 Final Peace Agreement.
“The dissolution of the ARMM will mean the dissolution of the two agreements…Indeed, in 1987, the Philippine government honoured its commitment to an international agreement by including in the Constitution the creation of an ARMM…,” petitioner stated.
The case will be raffled off again to another justice.