SC junks 'premature' petition vs draft Bangsamoro law

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Supreme Court on Tuesday, June 23, dismissed a petition against the proposed Bangsamoro basic law for being premature. 

The petition was filed by a certain Rolando Rojo Mijares. 

The High Court, meanwhile, ordered all existing petitions against the peace framework and the comprehensive peace accord between the government and rebel group Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to be consolidated into one case.

This was announced by SC spokesperson Ted Te in a press conference Tuesday.  

Associate Justice Marvic Leonen inhibited from the cases. Leonen served as the government chief negotiator until his appointment to the SC. It was under his term when the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro – the initial agreement that laid out the roadmap for the final peace deal – was signed.

Malacañang welcomed the ruling.

"We tend to agree with the Supreme Court. The bill is not even law yet and is undergoing the legislative process still," Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a text message.

The proposed Bangsamoro basic law implements the peace deals between the government and the MILF. Discussions on the law are in advanced stages in Congress. Lawmakers hope to pass the bill by October.

The Bangsamoro bill and the peace deals seek to install a parliamentary form of autonomous region in Mindanao with greater resources and powers in a bid to end 4 decades of armed conflict. 

There are at least 4 petitions against the proposed law and the peace deal.

On Friday, June 19, a group led by the Philippine Constitution Association and Leyte Representative Ferdinand Martin Romualdez – leader of the independent bloc in the House of Representatives – filed a petition seeking to junk the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro as unconstitutional. 

The petitions were filed 3 years after the FAB was signed in October 2012 and a year after the CAB was signed in March 2014. 

Te said the high court required the respondents to submit their comment to the petition and their application for a temporary restraining order within 10 days from receipt of the resolution. 

Other petitions against the peace deal were filed before the final peace deal with the MILF was signed, including one from MILF's rival group, the Moro National Liberation Front. – Angela Casauay with a report from Camille Elemia/