Leonen to inhibit from Bangsamoro cases

Leonen says he is 'willing' to inhibit from cases questioning the legality of the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement

HANDS-OFF. Leonen said he will not vote on any case involving the Bangsamoro Framework agreement.

MANILA, Philippines – Former government peace panel chair and now Supreme Court Justice Marvic Leonen said on Friday, November 23, that he will inhibit from cases challenging the constitutionality of an agreement he helped craft with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

ABS-CBN reported that Leonen said at the sidelines of the Philippine Bar Association luncheon that he is “willing” to inhibit from cases questioning the legality of the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement signed by President Benigno Aquino III on October 12.

Leonen, who assumed his post as the 15th member of the High Court on November 22, also explained what the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement stands for. 

“Very few appreciate Bangsamoro,” he said in the first speech he made as SC justice. “It represents an identity, not a citizenship. That is its functional purpose.”

Before his appointment to the SC on November 21, Leonen gave the assurance that the details of the agreement will be finalized by December. He earlier said that with or without him, negotiations on the peace deal with MILF will continue.

Leonen also previously told Rappler that contrary to issues raised by lawyer Estelito Mendoza, the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement does not force the executive branch to push for charter change. 

Mendoza had said that Paragraph VII (4) (b) of the agreement provides that the Transition Commission will “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 peace agreements.”

He said this may compel the government to “have the Constitution amended to accommodate the agreement of the parties whenever necessary.”

But Leonen said the transition commission “can only make recommendations, but it is up to Congress to dispose.” – Rappler.com