Solons lament ethics plaint over Bangsamoro peace process raps
Two congressmen have lamented the filing of an ethics complaint against them by former senator Rene Saguisag over their treason and sedition raps on the Bangsamoro peace process.
In a statement, Buhay party-list representative Lito Atienza said he was saddened that the famed human rights lawyer deemed their complaint against the Bangsamoro “prosecutorial terrorism.”
“That saddens me because Rene Saguisag is a good friend and he is also known as a patriotic Filipino. It appears that he purposely and deliberately distorted the intention of our lawsuit. What is unethical about taking this to court, instead of settling this out of court? What’s unethical about protecting our sovereignty and territorial integrity? I don’t understand what he meant about prosecutorial terrorism,” Atienza said.
In his letter to Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., Saguisag said that Atienza and Abakada Rep. Jonathan Dela Cruz’s filing is equivalent to “prosecutorial terrorism” against the peace panels of the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
The two solons filed the complaint against the peace process officials for inking a peace deal that paved the way for the crafting of the Bangsamoro basic law (BBL) bill. The BBL seeks to create a more politically autonomous Bangsamoro region.
Atienza said there is nothing unethical about filing a complaint in court about the peace negotiations he deemed to be unconstitutional and tantamount to a declaration of war against the government.
“This (BBL) puts us in jeopardy and they threw it on our laps to tackle. We think that as lawmakers we should ensure that it will be constitutional. We’re at a losing end here, it’s like heads, the MILF wins; tails, we lose,” Atienza said.
Included in the complaint are MILF peace panel chair Mohagher Iqbal, GPH peace panel chair Miriam Coronel Ferrer, presidential peace adviser Teresita Deles, GPH negotiating panel member Senen Bacani, former GPH peace panel chair now Supreme Court justice Marvic Leonen and 18 others.
The complaint was lodged in May before Senior Deputy City Prosecutor Eufrosino Sulla at the Manila City Hall. Atienza is former mayor of Manila.
Meanwhile, Dela Cruz welcomed the ethics complaint, saying “it will give us the opportunity to further ventilate the issues against the peace panels for signing an unconstitutional basic law which can lead to dismemberment and destabilization of our country.”
But Dela Cruz said he would have wanted Saguisag to fight against the real “terrorists” in the country.
“I have great respect for Senator Saguisag but I would have wanted to see him use his considerable talent and prestige in promoting just and lasting peace,” Dela Cruz said.
In his letter to Belmonte, Saguisag said the two congressmen’s actions “seems to call for action by your ethics panel or its functional equivalent, even an ad hoc one, to avoid a repetition of the mischief.”
“The two Congressmen… have to be probed by their peers as a guide to future action and prevent a repeat of premature ejaculation, as it (was), causing needless departmental tension… (Atienza and Dela Cruz being) at war most needlessly with Malacanang and the Supreme Court is not in the national interest,” Saguisag said.
He added that the peace process officials did not use weapons but only “words, words, words.”
He said the congressmen should have taken their votes against the BBL on the plenary and not in the courts.
“(They should just) get their peers to vote NO on the basis of legally tenable, intellectually respectable, and psychologically satisfying arguments… Lawmakers are in the business of crafting laws and policies, not in jailing people,” Saguisag said. AU
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