Palace: Bangsamoro peace pact 'constitutionally defensible'

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 03 2014 06:20 PM | Updated as of Apr 04 2014 02:20 AM

MANILA -- A Palace official maintained that the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is "constitutionally defensible."

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda was asked on Thursday if there is basis to impeach President Benigno Aquino III over the peace pact which was signed last week.

"The Bangsamoro Agreement was crafted keeping in mind that it should be within the flexibilities of the constitution. We adhere to the belief that the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro is constitutionally defensible," Lacierda replied.

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago on Wednesday said the CAB is unconstitutional.

During her speech at the commencement exercises of Gordon College in Olongapo City, the senator said the Constitution only allows an autonomous region and not a sub-state that will exercise sovereign powers reserved only for the central government.

She cited the 2012 Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, which is part of the CAB.

She said the agreement's Part 7, para. 4, subpara. (b), states that one of the functions of the Transition Commission is the following: "To work on proposals to amend the Philippine Constitution for the purpose of accommodating and entrenching in the Constitution the agreements of the Parties whenever necessary without derogating from any prior past agreements."

"Say again?! Whaaat?! The Agreement embodies the consent of the executive branch to amend the Philippine Constitution, in order to accommodate the Agreement!" Santiago said.

The provision is "beyond ridiculous," she added.