Rep. Lobregat speaks in ADZU forum on Bangsamoro issue PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 24 July 2014 13:38

The Ateneo de Zamboanga University (ADZU) spearheaded a peace forum on the Bangsamoro Peace Process last Monday at the Grand Ballroom of the Garden Orchid Hotel.

Among the invited resource speakers of The Ateneo Peace Institute (API) was Zamboanga City District 1 Representative Celso Lobregat who was asked to speak on “The Constitutionality of the CAB.”

Congressman Lobregat began his presentation by stating that, “Definitely, I am supportive of the peace process. I want the peace negotiations to succeed. And I do not want the current peace negotiations to end up like the failed Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD).”

Lobregat continued by saying that,  “We are for peace, just, long and lasting peace – we are not anti-peace and we want the Framework Agreement to be comprehensive, acceptable, feasible and consistent with the Constitution and existing laws.”

The forum entitled “Weaving the Tapestry for Peace: A Forum on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro” brought together representatives of various stakeholders and those directly involved in the peace talks to bring about a greater understanding of the issue.

Among the invited guests were Secretary Senen C. Bacani, a member of the GHP Peace Panel who gave updates on the CAB and the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC).

Bacani read a message posted on the government’s website stating among others that, “The GPH stands firm that we want a Bangsamoro Basic Law that can withstand political and legal scrutiny and be acceptable to various stakeholders, and the nation as a whole.”

Atty. Ana Tarhata-Basman, Head of the Legal Team of the GHP Peace Panel, also spoke on matters on the constitutionality of the CAB.

In his presentation Lobregat stated, “I am not a lawyer, yet I have been asked to talk about the constitutionality of the CAB – This is indeed an honor on my part, just like when I spoke before the Supreme Court on the issue of the MOA-AD – BJE on August 22, 2008”

He continued to say “Please take note, if ever the constitutionality or unconstitutionality of the CAB is brought to the Supreme Court there will be lawyers arguing on both sides of the issue. But it is only the Supreme Court that can decide whether the CAB is constitutional or unconstitutional.”

Lobregat noted that nowhere in the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and all its Annexes and the CAB is there a provision affirming or recognizing the Philippine Constitution, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Philippines.

Lobregat emphasized that the FAB has provisions that tie the hands of Congress.  “Congress has the power to enact laws, specifically the BBL. However, the FAB and its Annexes repeatedly provide that the Basic Law should be consistent with all agreements entered into and that may be entered into or in accordance with the provisions of the FAB. Furthermore, it is repeatedly stated that all agreements entered into have to be implemented.”

Lobregat also cited certain provisions of the FAB that seemingly run contrary to the Philippine constitution. These provisions have also been questioned by legal luminaries such as Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, Retired CA Justice Mario Guariña III and Retired Supreme Court Justice Manuel Lazaro, Chairman of the Philippine Constitutional Association (PHILCONSA).

Among those also invited to speak in the forum were Dr. Heidi K. Gloria, Graduate Professor, ADDU and Prof. Hezekiah A. Concepcion of the School of Arts and Sciences who gave more light to the issue by “Establishing a Historical Context” and “Weaving the Gaps of Zambasulta History,” respectively.

The morning session ended with an open forum where many questions were raised by various members of the community including the business sector and the academe which addressed their questions mainly to Sec. Bacani and Congressman Lobregat.

Speakers in the afternoon who focused on civil society engagements were Datu Mussolini Sinsuat Lidasan of Ateneo de Davao University, Dr. Marcelina G. Carpizo of WMSU, Fr. Albert E. Alejo, S.J. of ADZU and Mucha Shim L. Quiling. of the Sulu Current Research Institute.

To discuss “Responding to the Challenges” were Fr. Angel Calvo, CMF, president of PAZ and Fr. Karel San Juan, S.J. president of ADZU.

The synthesis was given by Mr. Roque “Ysuf” S. Morales of ADZU and the closing remarks by Mayor Maria Isabelle “Beng” Climaco.

Because of Lobregat’s vast knowledge on the issue he has been invited to speak in many forums, the latest of which was at the Sangguniang Panglunsod last July 1, 2014. He also spoke before the Association of Generals and Flag Officers (AGFO) at Camp Aguinaldo last June 24, 2014 and before the Philippine Ambassadors Federation, Inc. (PAFI) at the University of Asia & the Pacific, last May 29, 2014.

Lobregat is also slated to speak in two other forums within the coming week. — Melcah Yee