InterAksyon - Issues of constitutionality could hamper Bangsamoro Basic Law passage - Marcos

In The News
16 December 2014

By Ernie Reyes |

InterAksyon_featured_imageMANILA, Philippines -- Questions of constitutionality are likely to hamper the swift passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said.

“There are so many (questions on constitutionality). For example, the ground that the Supreme Court used in MOA-AD, kung bakit naging (why it became) unconstitutional,” Marcos said in an interview Monday night.

The MOA-AD, or Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain, was a pact signed by the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front in 2008.

After it was shot down by the high court, fighting broke out between the MILF and government forces that lasted almost a year.

However, the Supreme Court ruled that the “associative relationship” between the government and the proposed Bangsamoro Juridical Entity that the MOA-AD envisioned was unconstitutional because it implied that the BJE was an independent state.

“The statute does not grant the executive department or any government agency the power to delineate and recognize an ancestral domain claim by mere agreement or compromise,” the Court’s 89-page decision penned by then Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales said.

Marcos said some groups at the consultations pointed out that a number of items found in the MOA-AD are still present in the BBL, particularly provisions that, “if they were present, (would constitute) a sovereign state.”

Aside from this, he said, “there are other constitutional questions because we are a unitary and republican state, pero itong kanilang gagawin, parliamentary and ministerial,” referring to the system of governance envisioned for the Bangsamoro autonomous region.

“Papaano ang magiging resolusyon sa ganu’n?” he asked.

He also pointed to the position paper of the Philippine Constitution Association, where, he said, “madami ang kanilang sina-cite na constitutional question … kasi ‘yung mga administrative (questions) na pinag-uusapan namin kahit na maayos naming lahat pag ‘yung constitutionality hindi pa maayos, eh wala ring mangyayari (they cite so many constitutional questions … because the administrative questions we discuss, even if these are ironed out, if the question of constitutionality is not resolved, nothing will happen),” he said.

“Kaya sa palagay ko unahin na natin ‘yung constitutionality, tapos saka natin ayusin ‘yung ibang (So in my opinion we should address constitutionality first, only then can we resolve the other issues) … the sharing of wealth, the sharing of powers, etc.,” he stressed.

Marcos said he would request Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, who has declared her intention to have the committee on constitutional amendments, which she chairs, to conduct hearings after the final version of the BBL is drafted, to conduct joint hearings with his committee instead.