President Arroyo has backtracked on her initial stand pushing the memorandum of agreement creating an expanded Bangsamoro homeland as the way to “lasting peace” in Mindanao. In light of the escalating conflict in Cotabato and the Lanao provinces, she had little choice but to move away from the deal. To save face, MalacaÃ±ang says that it would not sign the MoA on the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE) “in its present form”. This is tantamount to saying it will never be signed at all, as the MILF has made it clear that it will not settle for anything less than the establishment of the BJE as defined in the MoA. As far as the rebel group is concerned, the MoA is a “done deal”.
It was half-baked to begin with, and has given rise to much mischief even before it could be signed. It gave the MILF an excuse to renew hostilities, and massacre civilians in the process, including women and children. And the turmoil is spreading, now threatening to engulf urban and industrial areas like Iligan and Zamboanga cities. This bodes ill for the internal security of the country as a whole. The New People’s Army has directed its units to take advantage of the situation and make its presence felt in various guerilla areas by conducting “sympathy attacks” on government forces. The overstretched and ill-equipped armed forces cannot afford to fight on two fronts simultaneously.
All because Mrs. Arroyo wanted to advance her agenda for charter change.
For the foregoing reasons, the Supreme Court seems disinclined to dismiss the petitions questioning the MoA for being premature or moot and academic. The motion by Solicitor General Agnes Devanadera asking the high tribunal to dismiss the petitions against the MoA because “circumstances had changed” is apparently not convincing enough and the Court is set to rule squarely on the constitutionality of the thwarted covenant. My guess is that it will find the MoA provisions unconstitutional and “patently illegal”, as expressed early on by Justices Carpio and Azcuna. A definitive ruling by the SC will preclude further attempts to pull a similar stunt in the future.
High Court ruling on the constitutionality of the MOA imperative, so that “bloodshed in Mindanao will not be repeated”, according to petitioners.
MILF will not renegotiate MoA and is ready for war.
The Supreme Court declares the memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain (MOA-AD) between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) illegal and unconstitutional, and the process that led to its crafting was “whimsical, capricious, oppressive, arbitrary and despotic” . It described the agreement as “contrary to law and the Constitution,” and called for public consultations in accordance with the right to information with respect to any further peace agreement with the rebel group .
The furtive process by which the MOA-AD was designed and crafted runs contrary to and in excess of the legal authority, and amounts to a whimsical, capricious, oppressive, arbitrary and despotic exercise.