MILF chair wants SC to decide on CAB first

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 15 2016 11:32 PM

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) wants the Supreme Court to decide on petitions against the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) so they may be able to identify questionable provisions in the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim maintained, all provisions of the BBL are drawn from the CAB and are presumed to be constitutional after several reviews from both sides of the negotiating table. 

He said, they want the Supreme Court to decide first on the constitutionality of the CAB which was signed in 2014.

"Maybe if there are provisions which [are] declared by the Supreme Court [as unconstitutional], then that is where we can park it and then wait for the amendment to the constitution or change in the constitution," he said.

Ebrahim admitted, until the high court decides on CAB's disputed provisions, they will be hard put on identifying their negotiable and non-negotiables.

"The negotiation has been going on for 17 years. It involved so much discussion and compromises on both sides. We boil it down to this Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro and the BBL as already a compromise on our part," he said.

He added, they would also have to converge the agreements between the government, the MILF, and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), which could be made easier by the establishment of the Bangsamoro Coordinating Forum by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

"This has been started already many years and it has been a continuing process. We see that, especially after the final result of the tripartite review on the MNLF side, we can easily converge the two agreements," he said.

Ebrahim expressed optimism that converging the two agreements penned by the government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) would be easier because of their shared objective of creating a government for the Bangsamoro people, but maintained that the "most practical way now is to start from the BBL because it is already crafted," and also by implementing the CAB in effect.

The GRP and the MILF have agreed to expand the number of members of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) from 15 to 21--11 from the MILF side and 10 from the GRP side.

The BTC is the mechanism that will produce a draft of a proposed legislation that will create a new Bangsamoro government. On Sunday, they agreed to submit the draft to Congress within a year.

READ: Expanded transition team to draft new Bangsamoro Law within a year 

READ: Gov't, MILF target Bangsamoro law before federalism shift