Philconsa says Bangsamoro pact unconstitutional PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 15 May 2014 11:58

The Philippine Constitution Association (PHILCONSA) the other day said that the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB), which will be the basis of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), is unconstitutional and that it may “cause chaos and instability with treacherous fallouts rather than bring peace and prosperity over the entire Mindanao region”.

PHILCONSA chairman Manuel Lazaro, a retired Supreme Court Justice dialogued with members of the House of Representatives last Monday where he presented a position paper stating that the proposed BBL presents a “conundrum” for Congress because its implementation will require not just the enactment of several laws, but also the amendment of the Constitution.

As this developed, District I Congressman Celso Lobregat reassured anew his vigilance over the proposed BBL which is expected to be presented to Congress anytime soon.

Since the start, Lobregat said clarifications or revisions should be made on various provisions in the agreement specifically on issues of contiguity in the territory and the 10% of the residents provision among others, which he said pose risk in including Zamboanga in the Bangsamoro territory despite strong opposition from the residents.

Part 5 number 5 of the FAB states that “Territory refers to the land mass as well as the maritime, terrestrial, fluvial and alluvial domains, and the aerial domain and the atmospheric space above it. Governance shall be as agreed upon by the parties in this agreement and in the sections on wealth and power sharing”.

The same provision can also be read in conjunction with the Bangsamoro Waters and Zones of Joint Cooperation Addendum to the Annex on Revenue generation and Wealth Sharing and the Annex on Power Sharing. It states that the “Bangsamoro waters shall extend up to 22.224 kilometers (12 nautical miles) from the low water mark of the coasts that are part of the Bangsamoro territory. The Bangsamoro Waters shall be part of the territorial juristdiction of the Bangsamoro political entity”.

It further states that “where a constituent local government unit of the Bangsamoro and an adjoining local government unit are so situated on the opposite shores such that there is thirty (30) kilometers of waters or less between them, a line equally distant from the opposite shores shall be drawn to demarcate the Bangsamoro waters and the municipal waters of the adjoining local government unit”.

In a news item published in GMA News on line, Lazaro was quoted to have said that the “CAB bound Congress and the judicial departments into agreeing to the creation of the proposed Bangsamoro political entity and even though the government is not in a position to concur on their behalf.”

“The Executive branch had no power to bind Congress and Judicial Departments—unless the Executive believes [they] are its lackeys,” the GMA news quoted Lazaro.

In another news item published in Business Mirror, Lazaro said the Government Peace Panel (GPP) has agreed on the terms that “the Bangsamaro shall establish and two parties shall ensure the establishment of a new Bangsamoro political entity.”

Lazaro also said the five annexes of CAB are only agreements of intention. “[The] five annexes provide that Congress should pass a Bangsamoro Basic Law and that it would amend the Constitution”, the Business Mirror story said. — Rey Carbonel