Challenges to legality of a peace deal struck by the government with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have no effect on the progress of the proposed Bangsamoro measure unless the Supreme Court (SC) issues a temporary restraining order (TRO), a House leader said on Sunday.
Earlier, the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) and former Rep. Jacinto Paras of Negros Oriental filed two separate petitions asking the SC to declare unconstitutional the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).
“Unless the SC TROs it, no effect at all. Also premature as it’s still up for amendments,” House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. told The Manila Times in a text message when asked, referring to the proposed Bangsamoro measure.
The FAB and CAB were used as basis of the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which will establish the Bangsamoro entity to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The measure is seen to establish lasting peace in the country’s southern region.
An opposition lawmaker said a petition filed before the SC questioning the legality of the peace deal will help ensure a constitutional Bangsamoro measure.
“The Philconsa petition will serve as lifeblood and heart of the peace agreement signed by the government and Moro rebels. We support peace, but any agreement should be in consonance with the Constitution and existing laws. This will help prevent a half-baked peace measure and not give false hopes,” said Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, who leads Philconsa.
Romualdez, who also leads the House independent bloc, cited the importance of the petition in making democracy a healthy process.
“Since the country’s democracy is very sacred, let us all work to make this livelier by allowing the Supreme Court to decide on the constitutionality of the peace agreement,” he said.
“The high tribunal is the final arbiter of all legal conflicts that divide the nation. I believe, the Supreme Court will rule on the best interest of the country and for the maintenance of good,” Romualdez added.
Deliberations on the proposed Bangsamoro measure will resume on July 27 when Congress reconvenes for its third and final regular session as President Benigno Aquino 3rd delivers his last State of the Nation Address before he steps down in 2016.