Mastura asks SC to let him intervene in Bangsamoro case
MANILA, Philippines — A lawyer and former congressman asked the Supreme Court to be allowed to participate in the ongoing case over the constitutionality of the peace deal entered into by the Philippine government with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
In a five-page motion for intervention, Michael Mastura said he wanted to participate in the case “in his personal capacity as a native born Moro and as bearer of heritage of indigenous institutions in Muslim Mindanao seeking to assert a ‘public right’ to political identity on equal protection grounds and ‘parity of esteem’ on ‘judicially-made’ policy, not constitutional rulings.”
“Allowing [me] to intervene in the [case] will provide an opportunity for the Bangsamoro people to be heard before the Supreme Court as their own identity is pilloried, their allegiance to this Republic harshly questioned, and their genuine aspiration for freedom, justice and peace repeatedly suppressed by the sheer tyranny of the majority of this country,” Mastura said.
Mastura was a Maguindanao congressman from 1987 to 1995, a delegate to the 1971 Constitutional Convention, and co-founder of the Southeast Asian Shariah Law Association. He is also a direct descendant of Sultan Kudarat, who resisted Spanish conquerors in the Cotabato area in the 16th century.
Last June, former Negros Oriental congressman Jacinto Paras and a group composed of the Philippine Constitutional Association, several former government officials and three Roman Catholic bishops filed separate suits at the Supreme Court to declare unconstitutional the 2012 Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).
The two agreements are the basis of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law, which is still pending before Congress and which aims to create a new Bangsamoro regional government.
The two petitions alleged that the FAB and CAB were mere revivals of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain that would have created the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity. The MOA was forged under the Arroyo administration and declared unconstitutional by the high court in 2008.
In his 79-page comment-in-intervention, accompanying his motion, Mastura defended the validity of the two agreements, saying they did not violate the constitutional provisions granting autonomy to Muslim Mindanao.
He also backed the devolution, power-sharing and asymmetrical setups of the Bangsamoro regional government provided in the two agreements.
Mastura also asked the 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’ as enshrined under Section 15, Article X of the Constitution.” SFM
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