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Ulama to Solons: Do not preempt the Bangsamoro people’s prerogatives

August 16, 2008 

“The political violence this weekend might be considered an abnormal condition,” says the MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal, “but not on the basis that the memorandum of agreement is terminated.” Government is holding on to its agreement, however.  With the outbreak of hostilities between the AFP-PNP and MILF forces in Cotabato, its impact on the GRP-MILF MOA is still uncertain.

Lawyer members of the MILF Negotiating Panel told Luwaran: “The situation created by the outbreak of hostilities does not result from a breach invoked by the parties.”


Nor is it because of withdrawal from the MOA or any prior agreements between GRP and MILF. The stumbling block is the so-called “politics of law”.  They said that Supreme Court is a “nonmajoritarian institution” for its legitimacy rest elsewhere than to implement the will of the people.  Asked if people should be worried they said the specter of instability still haunts Mindanao (and) will not go away so long injustices and serious grievances of the Bangsamoro people are not addressed.

Even the moderates will have little reason then to warm up to the mindset of Supreme Court justices. Given that the TRO is set for oral argument before the Supreme Court yesterday August 15, for the MILF and Government negotiators two questions linger. What has sparked the outburst? And what can be done about it?  MILF leaders are in no doubt as to the true reasons for the outburst spawned by the abortion of the signing of the MOA-AD.


Asked to comment, Muslim religious scholars (ulama) have issued this terse admonition: “Power without an attributable source causes unease.  Solons are making a big mistake to rush in only to preempt the collective prerogatives of the Bangsamoro people.”  The ulama described the “angry mood” of Senator Mar Roxas seen on TV footage and so, they said, the motive is suspect.  Taunting the former senate president, Khaled Musa says Frank Drilon has joined the petition to intervene in the TRO losing his statesman bearing to the call, all of a sudden, of his Ilonggo forebears.


The oral argument on MOA-AD before the Supreme Court throws into question powers not yet derived immediately from the principle of ‘advise and consent’ of the Senate, warns lawyer Datu Michael O. Mastura.  Most serious still, according to Mastura, a former congressman, Senators Roxas and Drilon are inclined “to drag the Puno Court whose policy is judicial activism into the politics of law.” 

The two opposition solons are stalwarts of the Liberal Party, but in all probability, some civil society sectors suspect, both are colored by the prejudice of their fellow ethnic Ilonggo, Manny Pinol. If that is true, these figures have ceased to represent the whole nation confusingly switching leadership roles, the same source said.


Most, if not all, the Justices of the Supreme Court do not come from Mindanao but are men and women of prudence, according to observers.  The elaboration of arguments on the MOA can be seen “as a token of growing maturity to examine the relative functions of the major branches of government,” so a federalist advocate group based in Davao City can embraced the issues.  “Nothing that was attempted earlier in GRP-MNLF agreements was of the same scope,” says lawyer Abdul Dataya, arguing that it would be wrong to conclude that the Government has capitulated any territory or territorial waters to the MILF.  


Meanwhile, the Mindanao prelates including Archbishop Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato and who met yesterday, August 14, with Mohagher Iqbal, Michael Mastura and Abdul Dataya, in the chancery of Archbishop Fernando Capalla of Davao admits that of the 9 bishops in attendance 2 are members of the CBCP permanent council.  “But technically we cannot speak for the whole body.”  What matters, they said, is to reverse “the hostile public perception of MOA-AD” cautiously confirming that “right now the support of MOA is based on the conviction that it does mean secession.”


Conversations at lunch shifted to the plebiscite and lack of consultation.  The head of the MILF panel secretariat Jun Mantawil recalls the Manili massacre in Cotabato and so “armed collisions with history” have become a recurring cycle around conflict-affected areas.  Why?  “I also want to remind anti-MOA politicians,” he says, “there is a sense of betrayal and double standards about consultation.”  When the big province of Cotabato was divided up by the Christian leaders “under martial rule, there was no big talk of plebiscite or of consulting the Moros from both local and national leaders,” he told local residents.




August 17, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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