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The Bangamoro BJE Deal In Its Present Form is Off

August 16, 2008

This writer has just confirmed from several highly placed sources that the deal to give the MILF a sovereignty-clothed Bangsamoro Juridical Entity is off, in the present form that It is configured in the initialed, but unsigned,Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MoA-AD).

This writer’s sources said the move “to renegotiate”  the MoA-AD was first admitted during yesterday’s in-chamber meeting of the high tribunal justices with lawyers of the oppositors and the government’s representatives.

Minutes ago, an ABS-CBN NEWS/Newsbreak Online report said, in part, “according to’s sources, the government’s peace negotiators will no longer sign the MOA-AD in the face of widespread opposition to it and questions about its constitutionality. Instead, the government will try to renegotiate it with the MILF.

The sources said the government’s peace panel first has to inform the MILF about its decision not to sign the MOA-AD, which was supposed to be done August 5 in Malaysia.

The government also has to inform the peace brokers such as the Malaysian government and the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC).”

Backgroundering the hearing yesterday, the online report goes on to say that the high tribunal TRO’d the signing of the MOA-AD on August 4 in response to petitions from local government officials of North Cotabato, Zamboanga and Iligan City. They complained they were not consulted on the agreement and questioned the legality of some provisions of the MOA-AD.”

The Supreme Court held oral arguments on the various petitions Friday afternoon after a closed-door, “in chamber session” with the Office of the Solicitor General and lawyers of the various petitioners. Another hearing on the oral arguments was set on August 22.

Senator Mar Roxas, who is also opposed to the MOA-AD, said the government already wants to back out of the MOA-AD. “They’re telling the justices, ‘Don’t rule on this anymore. We’re going to withdraw the MOA-AD so that there will be a renegotiation, so this will become moot and academic,” he told reporters in the Supreme Court.

Business opposes MOA-AD

In a press statement, Roxas said the business sector has “added its voice” to the various groups opposed to the MOA-AD.

He said the Makati Business Club, a forum of influential business leaders, has issued a statement opposing the MOA-AD.

The MBC statement said: “We oppose the GRP-MILF Peace Panel Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain because it is flawed in the process just as it is flawed in its provisions. What was lost in the process was any appreciation for legitimacy in a democracy that stems from winning consensus, including the consent of the governed. Many, if not all, of its provisions violate the Constitution, which strangely enough the Memorandum never mentions by name.”

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