• Santiago just wants to make sure FAB could stand SC scrutiny

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    SEN. Miriam Santiago on Friday made it clear that it is not her intention discredit the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) when she issued a statement to the media saying that the agreement is unconstitutional.

    Santiago, in a letter to Miriam Coronel-Ferrer head of the government peace panel, said that her intention in issuing such statement is to make sure that the agreement will be able to stand scrutiny in the Supreme Court (SC)

    Santiago, who chairs the Senate committee on constitutional amendments, on Tuesday said that the recently signed Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, is unconstitutional because it allegedly violates the principle of constitutional supremacy.

    According to her the agreement establishes not a mere autonomous region as provided for by the Constitution, but a substate which will exercise certain sovereign powers that should be reserved only for the central government.

    Santiago, who is also a constitutional law expert, particularly cited Part 7, para. 4, subpara. (b), which states that among the function of the Transition Commission will be “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 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,” she pointed out.

    Ferrer in reacting to Santiago’s statement assured the senator that the FAB abides by the constitution and has been mindful of President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s instructions that any agreement must be within the framework of the 1987 constitution.

    The government chief negotiator also informed the senator that the body is willing to meet with her to discuss the different provisions of the agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

    Santiago in her letter accepted the invitation of Ferrer for a meeting and would even provide the latter a brief legal memorandum explaining her recent statement to the media.

    “I shall get in touch with you sometime next week, to send you my brief legal memo. Thank you,” Santiago stated her letter to Ferrer dated April 4.

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