Lobregat seeks clarifications on gray points in peace pact PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 28 January 2014 12:42

District 1 Congressman Celso Lobregat is asking the government peace panel to revisit and clarify what he termed as “gray areas” in its Bangsamoro Framework Agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Speaking on ANC’s Headstart anchored by Karen Davila yesterday morning, Lobregat cited one gray point in the agreement which provides that “an area may and can opt to join anytime the Bangsamoro political entity through a petition of at least 10% of the qualified voters.”

“It should be clarified what they (peace panels) mean why 10% of the qualified voters. Is it 10% of a barangay? Or is it 10% of the entire city?” the solon asked, stressing that under the Local Government Code there can be no portion of a city voting, it should be the entire city.”

He cited another provision which says “in areas which are contiguous outside the core territory, where there are substantial population of the Bangsamoro, may opt anytime to be part.”

“This will become a never-ending story because any contiguous areas may opt anytime to join. There will be series of plebiscites then.”

According to him, such gray point in the agreement is worrisome “because the function of the transition commission is to 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 agreements.”

“Before it’s too late, the provisions of the agreement should be explicitly clear and not open to many interpretations. We don’t want this peace agreement to end up like the failed MOA-AD (memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain) which the Supreme Court ruled ‘unconstitutional and contrary to law,’” Lobregat stressed.

He recalled that in 2008 the Province of North Cotabato and the cities if Iligan and Zamboanga questioned before the Supreme Court the constitutionality of the agreement.

The MOA-AD was to be signed in Malaysia, but the Supreme Court prevented the signing through a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and eventually ruled the peace agreement unconstitutional.

Lobregat bewailed that in the framework agreement and in the annexes there is no reference to the Philippine Constitution that the agreement will be within the realm of the constitution.

“Instead of the peace agreement conforming to the Constitution, it is now in reverse. The constitution will have to be amended to conform to the agreement,” he said.

He also aired apprehension that Congress may become a rubberstamp when it comes to the content of the peace deal because of several provisions that all agreements have to be incorporated in the basic law.

Other than the constitutional issues, the area and the plebiscite, territory and national sovereignty, Lobregat said other gray provisions of the agreement are those in the annexes on power and wealth sharing. — Philip Abuy