Davide rules out MILF return to separatism

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Former Chief Justice Hilario Davide has ruled out the possibility of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) turning away from the peace agreement to seek an independent state.

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Davide made the stance in light of the lawmakers’ lingering concern that the MILF could just go back to their rebellious ways at any given time because the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL)—the fruit of the peace agreement between the government and the MILF inked in March 2014—does not ban the MILF from seceding from Philippine territory at any given time.

By signing agreements with the government, the MILF has bound itself to the process, Davide said.

“The reason the peace process could proceed in the first place is because the MILF had already given up its claim for secession. From its original call for an independent Islamic state, the MILF has indeed made a lot of compromises in negotiating for greater autonomy.

After signing the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), the MILF also signed the annexes on the CAB which include: transitional mode, power-sharing, wealth-sharing and the decommissioning of MILF combatants, as well as the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro.

“By engaging in a peace process, it will become difficult for the MILF to gain international recognition—a necessary requirement to gain full sovereignty, if they attempt to secede. Rather than facilitating secession, the participation of nation-states and other international actors and entities in the peace process makes them witness to the fact that secession is outside the intent or scope of the BBL, and that the Constitution prevails in all matters,” Davide argued.

Davide said that even if the BBL would expressly provide the ban on secessionism, such would still be non-binding or effective since a group that wants to secede would not be under the peace process anymore and as such, would not enjoy its benefits.

“Those who would claim secession are those who inherently refuse to recognize the power of government over them and therefore outside of the reach of the BBL. Any illegal acts that may stem from the demand to secede can be dealt with by the Constitution, including a creation of a state, which is prohibited,” Davide pointed out.

“The best protection against secessionism is the passage of the BBL and its effective implementation to provide a national environment that allows Muslim Mindanao to develop as part of a diverse Philippines. There would be no reason to secede,” Davide added.

Likewise, Davide countered the repeated claims of Zamboanga City Rep. Celso Lobregat that there should be a national referendum on which provinces will comprise the Bangsamoro Region.

Lobregat insisted by quoting one of the framers of the 1987 Constitution, Fr. Joaquin Bernas, that a plebiscite should be conducted nationwide to have a constituent effect.

“The Constitution has provided how the plebiscite should be conducted: that it is to be done in areas that will be affected [by the measure]. Unless the Constitution is amended, that is how it should be done,” Davide said.

Under the peace agreement, the plebiscite will be held after the BBL is passed into law. The plebiscite will include the areas in the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao or ARMM (which will be replaced by the Bangsamoro Region), as well as the other areas that voted for their inclusion in the ARMM 2001 plebiscite, namely: the municipalities of Baloi, Munai, Nunungan, Pantar, Tagoloan and Tangkal in Lanao del Norte, as well as municipalities of Kabacan, Carmen, Aleosan, Pigkawayan, Pikit and Midsayap and other contiguous areas wherein 10 percent of the total population would want to join the Bangsamoro.

The former Chief Justice, however, agreed with Cagayan de Oro Rep. and House Ad Hoc panel on the BBL head Rufus Rodriguez that the BBL should not be an expanding territory and that the Sharia High Court cannot be above the Supreme Court.

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10 Comments

  1. Cannot trust this criminal ang terrorist MILF,they are the ISIS of the Philippines.They trained the ISIS when they were AL-Queda.They learn their brutality from the MILF,America should put The MILF on their list as a terrorist organization.

  2. Davide can read the MILF’s mind and souls. Great skill! Those who are of lesser gravitas than Davide can only hope to read the house Bill for BBL and wonder why elected officials to Bangsa-territory are exempt from saying “I pledge allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines”. The current ARMM officlals are required based on the Republic Acts that gave ARMM — this pledge of allegiance is now missing in the houseBill for BBL-separate terrotory.

  3. Gusto ko rin itanong kay Congressman Lobregat kung gumagawa ba sila ng mga bagong barangay o municipio sa kanyang distrito, tinatanong ba niya ang lahat ng mamamayan sa buong Pilipinas. Iyan ang sagot sa

  4. Ten percent only of the population? What a ridicule to the majority of the population? a ten percent will make the decision for the 90% of the population? What a nut! The ten percent who is noisy will make my destiny of my generation and the the next generations! The 90% should go against on this premise.

  5. The kind of mentality from a former chief justice Davide makes me wonder the kind and level of intelligence our lawyers, judges and justice secretaries really have.

  6. Venerando Desales on

    Davide’s opinion is true for those who abide by the law. The MILF will not care getting international recognition for as long as they gain de facto control of a territory. Look at what the ISIS are doing: they flagrantly violate international and humanitarian laws! As predicted, religious war is inevitable where legal opinions will not matter. The way to deal with them is to close loopholes in a position of strength, foremost of which is the dubious identity of Iqbal which is a subterfuge for making the agreement as not binding to the MILF later. Those unconstitutional provisions should be stricken out with a ‘bring no prisoners’ attitude. Here is a parody: a Muslim sold a piece of land to a Christian. A month after the deed was signed and notarized, the vendor would not still relinguish his position. When sued in court, the vendor claimed in hard tone Tagalog: ‘Oo, bininta KO lupa, piro Hindi ang niyugan!’ See?

    • Ang nagpapasira ng opinion mo ay yong implanted na bias and prejudice. Kung anong narinig mo kay Gaytano hindi na yan mababago at hindi ka na rin makakatanggap ng reason that’s why ganyan ang paningin mo. Who are you to refute opinion of a respected former chief justice who is among those unblemished records in public service. Ikaw gaano ka kalinis para manghusga sa MILF na cannot be trusted? The government will not waste 18 years negotiating with them if they did not build those trust. Ikaw kilala mo ba ng lubosan ang MILF?

  7. Gloria M. Kuizon on

    Don’t believe Davide! He is a politician and not as hnorable as some peple make him out to be. If only because the BBL or the Constitution says the plebiscite should onyl nvolve the provinces affected then Congress should not pass any kind of BBL at all. The whole Filipino people shuld decide because they are all affected. Yes, provisions stating that the BBL is not allowed to move for secession or participate or support moves to separate from the Philippine Republic. And it should contain provisions condemning the contents of the CAB that insults non-Muslim Filipinos and states a versionof Philippine history that exalts Muslims and mocks Christians and LUmads!!!!

    • If you do not trust one of the most respected with unblemish record Filipino record in public service like former CJ Davide Jr whomever you will trust. Seguro must may trust ka kay Erap Estrada, AP Gaytano at lahat ng nanawagan ng all out war sa Mindanao, gaoon ba yan?