Mangudadatu asks SC to dismiss petitions vs BOL
MANILA, Philippines — Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu has asked the Supreme Court to dismiss the petitions questioning the constitutionality of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).
The BOL will set up the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BAR), which will expand the territorial jurisdiction of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
In a comment-in-intervention filed Wednesday, Mangudadato said the plebiscite conducted by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) last January 21 showed overwhelming support for its ratification.
In the first round of the plebiscite, 1,595,731 residents voted to ratify the BOL as against the 246,185 who voted against it – a margin of over 1.25 million votes.
“The sovereign voice of the autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao (has) clearly spoken. Under the principle of vox populi suprema est lex (the voice of the people should be the supreme law), we implore the Honorable Court to abide by the solemn duty to uphold the clear and unmistakable mandate of the people,” the 78-page pleading reads.
“The majority overwhelmingly and unequivocally voted for the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law and in the final analysis, the indomitable people of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region most certainly deserve every liberal interpretation of its Organic Law, RA 11054,” Mangudadatu added.
The governor also wants the high court to dismiss the petitions filed by Sulu provincial government led by Gov. Abdusakur Tan II and the Philippine Constitutional Association (Philconsa).
BOL or the Republic Act 11054 was signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte in July 2018. It expanded the ARMM with greater fiscal autonomy, regional government, parliament, and justice system.
The BAR will be composed of the current members of the ARMM — Tawi-Tawi, Sulu, Basilan, Maguindanao, and Lanao del Sur. Six municipalities in Lanao del Norte, 39 villages in Cotabato and the cities of Isabela and Cotabato will also be included in the new region, subject to the approval of the voters in those areas.
Mangudadatu’s co-petitioner is his younger brother Freddie. They agreed with Solicitor General Jose Calida that the BOL does not violate section 18, Article X of the 1987 Constitution, which authorized only one Organic Act to establish the ARMM.
He pointed out that the Organic Act is a “statute” that may be amended or repealed by Congress upon approval of the people in a plebiscite.
“Upon ratification of RA 11054, the constitutional existence of the autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao remained although its legislative underpinning would be repealed and replaced by RA 11054. In fine, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region under RA 11054 is still considered an autonomous region under the Constitution and the level on Bangsamoro self-determination continued to be one of autonomy,” the governor stressed.
He added that the BOL does not violate the separation of powers because “a parliamentary form of government should be viewed as consistent with the policy of local autonomy which, although encourages a closer relationship and more avenues for blending of powers between the executive and the legislative branches, does not actually sanction a complete fusion that would be tantamount to a violation of the constitutional parameters.” /ee
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