• Lawmakers face ethics raps for suing negotiators


    Former senator and human rights lawyer Rene Saguisag has filed ethics charges against party-list congressmen Lito Atienza of Buhay Hayaang Yumabong and Jonathan dela Cruz of Abakada before the House of Representatives over their alleged mischief in suing members of the government peace panel for treason and sedition.

    Saguisag was referring to the raps filed by the lawmakers against the government peace negotiators over a peace agreement between the state and former separatist group Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) signed in March 2014.

    The peace agreement gave birth to the Basic Bangsamoro Law that seeks to create a Bangsamoro autonomous region with fiscal autonomy and governed by the Bangsamoro Parliament elected by inhabitants of the region.

    In filing an ethics complaint sent to the office of Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. on Thursday morning, Saguisag noted that Belmonte and the House ethics committee should initiate a formal investigation against Atienza and dela Cruz because these lawmakers want to jail people who do not pose clear and present danger.

    “The situation seems to call for action by your ethics panel or its functional equivalent, even an ad hoc one, to avoid a repetition of the mischief. These congressmen have to be probed by their peers as a guide to future action and prevent a repeat of premature ejaculation, as it [was], causing needless departmental tension,” argued Saguisag, who served as a senator from 1987 to 1992 and had a long history of struggle against the strongman rule of then-President Ferdinand Marcos.

    “The duo should have learned to be tolerant of ideas they may disagree with, and even despise. The only ‘weapon’ used by the peace officials were “words, words, words,” the former senator said.

    Saguisag serves as the counsel of government peace panel chairman Miriam Coronel-Ferrer and panel members–former Agriculture secretary Senen Bacani, National Commission on Muslim Filipinos Secretary Yasmin Busran-Lao and peace panel consultant and National Security Undersecretary Zenonida Brosas.

    Also included in the lawmakers’ complaint-affidavit were all the members of the MILF negotiating panel, members of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, Supreme Court Justice and former government chief peace negotiator Marvic Leonen, as well as the late Datu Antonio Kinoc, a B’laan leader and member of the MILF peace panel who passed away prior to the filing of the complaint.

    Atienza said Saguisag distorted the intention of their lawsuit against the government peace negotiators.

    “That [ethics complaint]saddens me because Rene Saguisag is a good friend and a known patriot. What is unethical about taking this issue to court instead of settling this out of court? What’s unethical about protecting our sovereignty and territorial integrity?” he asked.


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