Sulu LGU asks SC to junk ‘unconstitutional’ Bangsamoro law
The province of Sulu, represented by Gov. Abdusakur Tan II, is questioning the legality of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) in a petition for certiorari and prohibition filed before the Supreme Court (SC).
The petition dated October 11, 2018, is asking the SC to issue a temporary restraining order on Republic Act 11054, or the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BAR) in Muslim Mindanao, as it is allegedly not allowed under the 1987 Constitution.
According to Tan, the Senate, the House of Representatives, the Commission on Elections, the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza, and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) committed grave abuse of discretion because it effectively abolished the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), which was created through a provision in the Constitution.
“The enactment of R.A. 11054 violates Section 18 and Section 19, Article X of the Constitution, because the Constitution authorizes the enactment of only one (1) Organic Act upon the establishment of the autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao,” the petition claimed.
“Furthermore, since ARMM was created by the Constitution, Congress, by itself, cannot abolish ARMM; only through a constitutional amendment may ARMM be abolished. R.A. 11054 which effectively abolishes ARMM is, therefore, unconstitutional,” it added
R.A. 11054 was signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte on July 28, 2018, and took effect on August 10, 2018. Sulu’s petition falls within the 60-day period allowed to question recently-passed laws.
The document, prepared by former Comelec Commissioner Sixto Brillantes, also said that if the BAR adopts a parliamentary form of government, it would turn the executive and the legislative branches into one body, thus violating current laws.
“In Section 3, Article IV, and in Article VII of R.A. 11054, the establishment of a parliamentary form of government in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region violates the doctrine of separation of powers enshrined in the Constitution,” they said.
“The Chief Minister is not elected as such by the people, but as Member of Parliament, and subsequently elected as Chief Minister by Parliament. Not being directly elected by the people, he does not directly represent the people but the Parliament which elected him. This is unconstitutional,” they noted.
The BOL, originally called the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), is believed to be the answer to decades-long armed conflict in the southern provinces of the country.
It was initiated during the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III, but failed to gain traction after 44 members of the police’s Special Action Force were killed by MILF members in an operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, in January 2015.
When President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office in 2016, he urged the Congress to pass the BBL. Days before his third State of the Nation Address (Sona), the Bicameral Conference Committee approved the proposal, with key revisions to its name and the proposed preamble. /cbb
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