Pamatong asks SC to nullify Bangsamoro agreement

Pamatong says the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement requires amending the charter

MANILA, Philippines – Perennial nuisance candidate Ely Pamatong asked the Supreme Court on Monday, December 3 to declare the government’s peace deal with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front unconstitutional, saying the agreement would lead to the creation of an independent, “Islamic state.”

Pamatong said the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement used the word “asymmetric” to describe the relationship between the central government and the Bangsamoro state, which he said is not that different from the 2008 Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain or the MOA-AD, which contains the phrase “associative relationship.”

“By using these synonymous terms, the negotiators on both sides meant they agreed on the establishment of a ‘State within a state,'” he said.  

The SC declared the MOA-AD unconstitutional, saying the peace panel crafted it without consulting stakeholders.

Pamatong’s petition is the first to be filed questioning the consitutionality of the agreement.

Pamatong, who was disqualified from the 2004 and 2010 presidential races, added the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement – which serves as the blueprint for a final political settlement with the MILF – also requires amending the Charter.

Top lawyer Estelito Mendoza has also raised similar concerns in a letter to the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Mendoza wrote that Par.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 guarantees charter change. Former government peace panel head and now SC Justice Marvic Leonen has said though that the transition comission can only make recommendations. Amending the 1987 Constitution in relation to the Bangsamoro state is still up to Congress, Leonen said.

Pamatong, who also asked the SC to issue a temporary restraining order, wants President Benigno Aquino III and Leonen to also explain why the agreement was signed without consulting non-Moros and why the peace negotiations were brokered by Malaysia, which Pamatong said is an “enemy” of the Philippines.

Leonen – who was appointed to the SC on November 21 – said he will inhibit from cases questioning the constitutionality of the Bangsamoro Framwork Agreement.  – Rappler.com