Miriam: MILF pact violates constitutional supremacy

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SENATOR Miriam Defensor Santiago

SENATOR Miriam Defensor Santiago

SENATOR Miriam Defensor Santiago on Wednesday said the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) is unconstitutional because it violates the principle of constitutional supremacy.

Santiago, who heads the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments, noted that the agreement establishes a sub-state, which is not allowed by the Constitution.
She explained that what is allowed by the law is the establishment of an autonomous region.

But the entity that will be established to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is not a mere autonomous region but a sub-state that will exercise certain sovereign powers that should be reserved only for the central government.

The heads of the negotiating panels of the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) signed the pact on March 27 in Malacañang.


Santiago cited Part 7, paragraph 4, subparagraph (b) of the Bangsamoro agreement, defining one of the functions of the Transition Commission that she said she finds ridiculous.

The provision empowers the commission “to work on proposals to amend the Philippine Constitution for the purpose of accommodating and entrenching in the Constitution the agreements of the Parties whenever necessary without derogating from any prior past agreements.”

“The basic function of a Constitution is to list the powers of the state and to list the rights of the citizens. The Constitution is a list of sovereign powers that are reserved for the government, meaning to say, all the three branches. This is the principle of constitutional supremacy. It is beyond ridiculous to state that the Philippine Constitution should accommodate the agreements of the Parties whenever necessary,” Santiago, who is also a constitutional law expert, said.

The agreement embodies the consent of the executive branch to amend the Philippine Constitution, in order to accommodate the agreement, she added.

Santiago said preliminary studies show that the agreement apparently contains
provisions very similar to those contained in the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD), which the Supreme Court earlier declared unconstitutional.

The senator explained that the MOA-AD and the Bangsamoro agreement appear to facilitate the secession of the Bangsamoro from the country in a manner similar to the secession of Kosovo and Crimea.

Santiago listed several reasons why she believes that the Bangsamoro will turn into a sub-state: The powers of the central government shall be determined by the agreement; the ARMM will be abolished by a mere agreement with the MILF, allocation to the Bangsamoro of all powers exercised by the national government over local government units; and exclusive Bangsamoro jurisdiction over natural resources in areas covered by the agreement.

The senator said the Annex on Power Sharing gives to the Bangsamoro so-called “exclusive powers,” which are defined as a tautology, as “powers or matters over which authority and jurisdiction pertain to the Bangsamoro government.”

She noted that only the Bangsamoro shall be under a ministerial form of government, while the rest of the country will operate under a presidential form of government.

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6 Comments

  1. At last Senator Miriam Defensor had opened her mind already. I had been waiting for long why she had not spoken when they started negotiations which Malaysia had brokered this peace negotiations.

    Malaysia should have not involved at start for all we know that SABAH had been annexed defying the ownership of SULTANATE of SULO.

    We love to have PEACE but our muslim brothers do not want to integrate themselves.

  2. Nory Cabanilla on

    If “the agreement embodies the consent of the executive branch to amend the Philippine Constitution in order to accommodate the agreement,” then it is not a violation of the Philippine Constitution because it is still subject to a condition: that the executive branch will initiate an amendment to the Constitution to make the agreement in compliance with it. If the appropriate amending body (Congress, upon a vote of 3/4 of all its members or a Constitutional Convention), or is not ratified by the majority of the Filipino voters in accordance with Art. XVII of the Constitution, that agreement can not be enforced by any party to it. If a case is filed now in court to nullify the agreement, is that not premature?

  3. Gerry Cortez on

    Senator Santiago should not interfere with the lives of the people of the Bangsa Moro. We have suffered decades of war started by Marcos and have been victims of conflicts between the military and the rebels. The CAB is our hope for lasting peace in the region. Even non-Muslims are willing to give this CAB a chance because we have exhausted all other options for peace. Senator Santiago may have been influenced by the Ilonggos in the region who fear being under the Bangsa Moro. She should rather work on unification of the various ethnic groups rather than be a hindrance to the peace process.
    Bangsa Moro is a regional autonomous government and not a sub-state. Many non-Muslims in the said region are in favor of the CAB because this will finally pave the long overdue development of the poorest provinces in the country. The Bangsa Moro is rich in minerals and other natural resources. We will be able to surpass the other regions once we start work on the gas and oil deposits in the Liguasan Marsh and offshore. There will be enough jobs for the Bangsa Moro that its people will no longer need to go abroad to support their families.
    People from Luzon and the Visayas comment on the CAB as if they know the lives, sufferings, cultures, problems, and aspirations of the people in the Bangsa Moro. You never hear from us as you play blind to the plights of the indigenous folks like the Aetas, Mangyans, etc. who continue to suffer from discrimination and neglect. Please do not make the CAB a religious issue because even the various Christian churches in the region support this.

    Please give peace a chance.

  4. yes sen santiago ou very much correct unconstitutional ang CAB aggreement imagine ibinigay ng lahat ni wla kang narinig na they are filipino meaning they used this CAB to file their own agneda of separate state. un mga representative natin na nagworout they are not lawyers paano nila ssbiihin na legal yan come Madam Santiago please figth for the RP kaci yung prisidente natin e abnoy

  5. Please Madam Santiago, pursue what you said that the CAB agreement is unconstitutional. You are the only one I know and heard of objecting to this stupidity of creating a substate. That’s what happened when Pres. Noy trusted two women who are not lawyers and probably do not comprehend the consequence of what they promised to the MILF. I am not being derogatory to Ms. Briones and Ms. Ferrer but they are dead wrong in acceeding to what Malaysia told them to accept in favor of the MILF. Being autonomous does not mean getting the most of the bigger slices of the pie. And what if they do not disarm? Will they point the blame to the other splinter groups of MILF when conflict starts again? It is ongoing right at this time and they cannot do anything to control them. It is worthwhile to note that the Muslims around the world never honor what they promised to do; I am generalizing, yes, but look around where most of the conflict in the globe is existing. It is in the Muslim world because like Afghanistan, they want to dominate the world, they are not contented to what they have. To them, a non Muslim is a non believer, an infidel, and should be subjugated. If the MILF takes Mindanao and becomes powerful, they can easily take the rest of the Philippines with the help of other Muslim countries especially Malaysia who is now their present backer and financer. Wrong, this so called peace agreement is very wrong. Senator Miriam Santiago, please push for the death of this CAB. President Noy, I admire you because I can see concrete reasons in modernizing the AFP that was not done by your predecessors. But bowing to the demands of the MiLF is dead wrong. The Muslims only comprise 5% of the Philippine population, at most, they should have gotten only 5% of the minerals, oil and other natural resources in Mindanao, nothing more. Furthermore, right from the signing of the peace agreement, all the arms within the realm of the MILF should be surrendered to the Government of the Philippines, if they are really serious and truthful in their promises. I doubt they will never do. God bless the Philippines.