Miriam concerned over PH-MILF framework accord

By Ryan Chua, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 08 2012 06:42 PM | Updated as of Oct 09 2012 02:42 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago on Monday expressed concern over constitutional amendments required by the framework agreement of the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Santiago, chair of the Senate committee on constitutional amendments, said the Constitution needs to be amended to fulfill the agreement's provisions granting the Bangsamoro state a ministerial form of government and making it a "sub-state."

The creation of the Bangsamoro's Basic Law would also call for constitutional amendment, she added.

"Our negotiators have tied our government and the hands of the Filipino public with respect to these amendments," Santiago told reporters. "If we do not pass these amendments, then the framework agreement will be discarded, and then we'll probably be made to answer why we are responsible for making it a failure. That's not fair to the Filipino public."

In effect, Santiago added, the framework agreement makes the Constitution the subject of a treaty.

"I am very, very concerned. Our own Constitution is being the subject of a treaty. Since when did a foreign entity have the power to compel our people to pass amendments to our Constitution?" she said.

Santiago said she won't file a petition before the Supreme Court questioning the agreement and will wait for others to do it because she will part of legislative deliberations on the matter.

However, she vowed to stand against the agreement when it reaches the Senate.