MANILA - Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu and Mangudadatu town Mayor Freddie Mangudadatu have urged the Supreme Court to junk petitions questioning the constitutionality of the Bangsamoro Organic Law.
In a 78-page comment-in-intervention filed on Wednesday, the Mangudadatus cited the overwhelming result of the first BOL plebiscite in January, where more than 1.5 million voted in favor of approving the BOL.
Less than 250,000 opposed it.
“The sovereign voice of the autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao have (sic) clearly spoken,” they said.
“The majority overwhelmingly and unequivocally voted for the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law and in the final analysis, the indomitable people of the Bangsamoro Autonomous region most certainly deserve every liberal interpretation of its Organic Law, R.A. 11054,” they added.
PETITIONS VS. BOL
Two petitions were filed at the high court seeking to invalidate the BOL.
The first was filed by the Province of Sulu represented by Governor Abdusakur Tan II.
Sulu voted 'no' to the BOL during the Jan. 21 plebiscite.
The second was filed by the Philippine Constitution Association (PHILCONSA), a group of constitutional law experts.
The Supreme Court consolidated both petitions in January.
The pleas argued that the 1987 Constitution only allows 1 autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao.
In their comment, the Mangudadatus defended Congress’ power to enact the BOL.
“It is a fundamental constitutional principle that Congress has full discretion to enact the kind of Bangsamoro Basic Law that Congress, in its wisdom, deems necessary and proper to promote peace and development in Muslim areas in Mindanao,” they argued, stressing Congress’ power to amend or repeal a law and the law’s presumption of validity.
They also refuted the Province of Sulu’s claim that its constituents' right to suffrage would be violated because votes from localities in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao would be counted as one.
In effect, Sulu had said, it would be “coerced” to be part of the soon-to-be-established Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
“The fact that they voted as one with other constituent units of the ARMM cannot be considered as a denigration of their right of suffrage since they were made to express their sentiments during the plebiscite as one political unit in accordance with the Constitution,” the Mangudadatus said.
They added that counting Sulu as part of the ARMM was intended to ensure preservation of gains of autonomy, Sulu having previously voted to join the region.
The creation of a Bangsamoro parliament, the Mangudadatus said, is not a violation of the doctrine of separation of powers since the 1987 Constitution allows a parliamentary form of government for autonomous regions, consistent with the grant of political autonomy.
The Mangudadatus justified their intervention as registered voters, citizens, taxpayers and Moros born and raised in the region.
Two other groups have also earlier sought to junk the petitions against the BOL.
A group of Muslim accountants and two lawyers asked the high court in January to allow them to intervene and defend the passage of the BOL against the petition filed by Sulu while another group of Muslim lawyers and leaders also filed a comment-in-intervention seeking the dismissal of the same petition.
The BOL is the enabling law of a 2014 peace agreement between government and the formerly secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Its envisioned BARMM has greater powers for self-governance and is hoped to bring peace to long-restive Mindanao.