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Sultan Kudarat heir asks SC to dismiss petitions vs Bangsamoro

/ 03:26 PM October 27, 2015

A direct descendant of Sultan Kudarat has asked the Supreme Court to dismiss the petitions which sought to nullify the two agreements signed by the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) for the creation of Bangsamoro government.

In his motion for intervention, former representative of the first district of Maguindanao Datu Michael Mastura also told the high court to “uphold and recognize the birthright of every Moro man and woman to call or ascribe to the Bangsamoro self-identity on the basis of shared common and distinctive historical and cultural heritage.”

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He said the high court should allow for “continuity in the peace process.”

Mastura said a continuity of the peace process was needed “to set the transition process after the completion of legislating devolution up to the ratification stage ending with a plebiscite.”

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“Any basic law presumes the good faith for adoption by Congress of the act for devolution to Muslim Mindanao,” he added.

Earlier, the high court ordered the government to comment on two separate petitions seeking to void its two deals with the MILF related to the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), namely the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

The two petitions were filed by former Negros Oriental First District Rep. Jacinto Paras, the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa), former Sen. Francisco Tatad, former national security adviser Norberto Gonzales, Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, and Archbishops Ramon C. Arguelles, Fernando Capalla, and Romulo de la Cruz.

The BBL is a proposed legislation that is still being debated in Congress.

In the 30-page petition filed by Philconsa, Tatad, Gonzales and the archbishops, they claimed that the FAB and CAB were “flawed.”

The CAB is a five-page 12-point text document representing the final peace agreement between the government and the MILF. It provides, among others, the turnover of firearms to a third party, which would be selected by the government and the MILF. It reiterates the commitment of the two parties to the FAB, among others.

The group said the respondents, who included former chief government negotiator and current Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen who negotiated the FAB, and Miriam Coronel Ferrer who negotiated the CAB, gave the MILF “unimaginable benefits,” which the government may not legally grant without a yes from Congress.

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Some of the benefits given include the creation of the Bangsamoro government, which shall have its own Sharia justice system, auditing body, civil service and election body. It shall have its own “expandable” territory, and shall have an asymmetric relationship with the central government. It shall also have its own military and police force.

The petitioners claimed that with such commitments, Leonen and Ferrer “acted without or in excess of jurisdiction and/or with grave abuse of discretion.”

“The provisions of the FAB and the CAB are all repugnant to the 1987 Constitution and existing laws. The Constitution is supreme. Any exercise of power beyond what is circumscribed by the Constitution is ultra vires (beyond the power) and a nullity,” the petitioners said.

Petitioners added that there were three rebel groups in Mindanao but the government excluded the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

“The exclusion of the two other rebel groups referred under Executive Order No. 125, the other Muslim groups, Christians and lumads in Muslim Mindanao is a fundamental fatal infirmity. The peace process should be defined by all Filipinos as one community and not by the government and MILF panels only.” Tetch Torres-Tupas/RC

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TAGS: Bangsamoro Basic Law, Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, Datu Michael Mastura, Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, Marvic Leonen, Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, Moro Islamic Liberation Front
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