No TRO from SC on Bangsamoro agreement

By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 08 2013 05:18 PM | Updated as of Jan 09 2013 07:04 AM

MANILA - The Supreme Court (SC), in its en banc session on Tuesday, did not issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) to prevent the implementation of the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement between government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Acting SC Public Information Office (PIO) chief Atty. Gleo Guerra said the high court instead asked the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to file its comment on the petitions of Elly Pamatong and Rev. Vicente Libradores Aquino, et al.

The separate petitions urged the high court to declare the agreement as unconstitutional.

In his petition, Pamatong questioned why the GPH-MILF exploratory talks, which led to the signing of the framework agreement, were held in Malaysia. He claimed Malaysia is not a neutral party because of its claims over the disputed Sabah, which the Philippines also claims.

He pointed out that the framework agreement should be declared null and void for the following grounds:

  • it is substantially "the same" as the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) between the GPH and MILF
  • in 2008 which was stricken down as unconstitutional by the SC;
  • it involves "paramount governmental and national interests that have not been subjected to opem and serious public discussions mandatorily required;"
  • it is a "unilateral abrogation" of the Tripoli Agreement among the GPH, Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), and the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC); and
  • it commits GPH to "amend the 1987 Constitution" or pass certain laws.

Meantime, in their petition, Rev. Vicente Libradores Aquino, Rev. Mercidita S. Redoble, and International Ministries for Perfection and Party Against Communism and Terrorism, Inc. (IMPPACT, Inc.) argued that the framework agreement is violative of the 1987 Constitution.

The petition pointed out that while the Constitution provides that "[t]here shall be created autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao...," the creation of a "Bangsamoro" is nowhere mentioned.

The petitioners stressed that Bangsamoro is similar to the Bangsamoro Juridicial Entity that the Arroyo administration intended to create but was struck down by the high court.