MALACAÑANG on Tuesday, December 18, declined to give its two cents on the petition filed before the Supreme Court, asking magistrates to declare the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) as illegal and unconstitutional.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Palace would defer to the high court's judgment with regard to the legal challenges hurled at the BOL.
"We will let the Supreme Court decide on that matter. As we said, we will always defer to the other branch of the government," Panelo told Palace reporters when sought for comment on the petition lodged against the Bangsamoro law before the high court.
"We would not make any comment on that because it's now pending before the court... it's still with the court now. It's sub judice (under judgment)," he added.
The Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa), a group of constitutionalists and framers of the 1987 Constitution, urged the high tribunal on December 11 to declare BOL, which grants greater autonomy to Muslim Mindanao, as illegal and unconstitutional.
Republic Act (RA) 11054 or the BOL creates the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Barmm) in place of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm) as a result of the 2014 peace pact with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
The Moro law overhauls the current autonomy set-up in Mindanao, granting the new Bangsamoro region greater wider control over resources and political power.
Under RA 11054, the Barmm is composed of Tawi-Tawi, Sulu, Basilan, Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, six municipalities of Lanao del Norte, 39 villages of North Cotabato, and chartered cities of Cotabato and Isabela.
However, a plebiscite is necessary to legalize the creation of Barmm that would replace the Armm.
In a petition lodged before the Supreme Court on December 11, the Philconsa argued that the BOL violates Sections 18 and 19 of Article 10 of the 1987 Constitution, which allows the enactment of only one organic act for Muslim Mindanao.
The Philconsa claimed that only an amendment to the Constitution can allow the creation of a new autonomous region.
The Philconsa's arguments are similar to the reasons cited by the Province of Sulu in a petition filed before the Supreme Court in October, questioning the constitutionality of the BOL and asking the high court to stop efforts to conduct a plebiscite for the law's ratification. (SunStar Philippines)