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SC junks petitions to declare as unconstitutional 2 Bangsamoro pacts
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA, Philippines -- The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday dismissed the petitions filed by several groups seeking to declare as unconstitutional two agreements signed during the term of former President Benigno Aquino III with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) which allows the establishment of a Bangsamoro government in lieu of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

In a press conference, SC spokesperson Theodore Te said the magistrates decided to dismiss the petitions filed by the Philippines Constitution Association et al (Philconsa), Tanggulang Demokrasya (Tan Dem), Rev. Vicente Libradores Aquino et al, Jacinto Paras and Rev. Elly Velez Pamatong et al on the ground that they are “premature.

“The Court noted that there is yet no Bangsamoro Basic Law that has been passed, and “any question on the constitutionality of the (Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro) CAB and the (Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro) FAB, without the implementing Bangsamoro Basic Law, is premature and not ripe for adjudication. Until a Bangsamoro Basic Law is passed by Congress, it is clear that there is no actual case or controversy that requires the Court to exercise its power of judicial review over a co-equal branch of government,” Te said.

“The Court also noted that even if there are bills pending in Congress, the Court cannot exercise its power of judicial review over such bills as it would be tantamount to the Court rendering an advisory opinion on a proposed act of Congress. The power of judicial review over an act of Congress comes into play only after the passage of a bill, not before,” he added.

In its petition, Philconsa through its president Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez said the FAB and CAB grant "unconscionable" financial, social, economic, and political benefits to the MILF.

The FAB was negotiated and signed by former government peace panel chief and now Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen while the CAB was negotiated and signed by incumbent government chief peace negotiator Miriam Coronel Ferrer with MILF peace panel head Mohagher Iqbal.

The petitioners argued that the conduct of the peace process with the MILF was made in violation of Executive Order No. 125 issued by former President Fidel Ramos which requires the presence of a panel of advisers composed of one each from the Senate, the House of Representatives and the Cabinet to be designated by the President.

Furthermore, the petitioners said respondents Leonen and Ferrer acted with grave abuse of discretion when they agreed to cause the amendment of the Constitution by signing the FAB and CAB.

They noted that FAB and CAB grant concessions to the MILF beyond the powers of the President to grant and in violation of the provisions of the Constitution and existing laws.

The petitioners said FAB and CAB violated Section 1, Article X of the Local Governments of the Constitution which has authorized and recognized only five territorial and political subdivisions namely provinces, cities, municipalities, barangays and autonomous regions.