SC junks petitions seeking to nullify Gov't-MILF pacts

THE Supreme Court has dismissed all the petitions seeking to declare two key agreements signed by the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) unconstitutional.

In a unanimous decision, the magistrates junked the petitions filed by Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa), Tanggulang Demokrasiya (Tandem), Rev. Vicente Libradores Aquino, Jacinto Paras, and Elly Pamatong to declare unconstitutional the two agreements of the BBL: Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) and the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) on the ground that they are premature.

The FAB and CAB served as the basis of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

According to the SC, it cannot act on the constitutionality of the two agreements unless the BBL is passed by the Congress.

"The power of judicial review over an act of Congress comes into play only after the passage of a bill, not before," the SC said.

Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, a respondent in the case, as well as Associate Justices Francis Jardeleza and Benjamin Caguioa took no part in the decision due to their previous participation in the case, as Chief Government Negotiator, Solicitor General, and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel, respectively.

Aside from Leonen, also a respondent in the case are government chief negotiator Miriam Coronel Ferrer, Leonen's successor; MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal; Budget Secretary Florencio Abad; and the Commission on Audit (COA).

The petitioners said the FAB, signed in 2012 by Leonen as government panel chair and the CAB, the final peace agreement signed in 2014, are both unconstitutional.

The petitioners said that Leonen and Ferrer acted with grave abuse of discretion when they allegedly agreed to cause the amendment of the Constitution by signing the FAB and CAB.

The petitioners believed that the agreements grant concessions to the MILF beyond the powers of the President, and in violation of the Constitution. (Sunnex)
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