Bangsamoro law to stand constitutionality test before Supreme Court: MILF chair

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 19 2018 10:40 AM

MANILA - The Supreme Court will find the Bangsamoro Organic Law constitutional despite a petition challenging this, the chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front said Wednesday.

A group of constitutional experts and framers has asked high tribunal to void the BOL, which they believe violates the provision of the Constitution that allow only one organic act to establish the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

While the MILF respects the views of other people and acknowledges that it is the "duty of the Supreme Court to entertain" any such petition, Chairman Murad Ebrahim said they are "very confident the BOL will stand the constitutionality test."

"It has been processed many times during the negotiations, during the crafting of the law during the passing of the law in Congress. Everybody made sure the law will be constitutional," he told ANC's Headstart.

The petition from the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) seeking a temporary restraining order on the implementation of the law is the second challenge to the landmark law. 

The Province of Sulu last October also questioned the constitutionality of Republic Act No. 11054, or the BOL, and sought a halt order against its implementation.

The BOL, signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in July this year, paves the way for wider self-rule for the Muslim minority in the south.

It is one of the requirements under a 2014 peace agreement between Manila and the MILF, the country's largest Muslim rebel group. It will install a Bangsamoro political entity in place of the ARMM and is envisioned to grant wider self-rule to predominantly Muslim provinces and cities.

Under this law, the areas within ARMM will be part of the new region, while Cotabato City, Isabela City, 6 Lanao del Norte towns and 39 North Cotabato provinces may opt to be included. 

The law also promises a fair sharing of resources, a block grant from the national government, and an overall stronger autonomy in Muslim Mindanao, among others.

The BOL is up for plebiscite on two dates as set by the Commission on Elections – January 21, 2019, and February 6, 2019.