Legal experts say President Noynoy Aquino’s Bangsamoro deal is illegal

If we are to believe Philippine President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino, the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will “finally seal genuine, lasting peace in Mindanao”. In fact, one can be forgiven for wishing that the President’s statement is true especially since, for too long, most people have hoped for an end to the four-decades of conflict in the country’s far south.

Kept secret because of legality issues: President BS Aquino discusses Mindanao with Murad.
Kept secret because of legality issues: President BS Aquino discusses Mindanao with Murad.
However, the signing of the deal, which has been lauded as “historic” mostly by the Presidential staff and his advisers is beginning to look like nothing more than another one of those overhyped publicity stunts to make the BS Aquino government look like it has achieved something significant other than the removal of “wang-wang” on Philippine roads.

Like most transactions this government has entered into, the Bangsamoro deal highlights once again a few things about BS Aquino. It highlights his penchant for shortcuts, disregard for the rule of law, and disrespect for the other branches of government – the legislature and the judiciary. It also highlights his arrogant nature.

As some legal experts have pointed out, President BS Aquino took it upon himself to make an agreement with Muslim rebels – members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) – those who have wrought havoc in Mindanao, practically giving them parts of the region to reign over prior to consulting the members of Congress and the judiciary.

Let’s not forget to mention that the same Muslim rebels were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Philippine military men and many civilians, including foreigners who were kidnapped for ransom in the past. As someone once said, they were enemies of the state, lawless elements or criminals extorting from businessmen or the government. But now they are wining and dining with Philippine leaders.

Members of the Philippine military who survived previous battles with rebel forces in Mindanao must be shaking their heads in disbelief at how BS Aquino easily succumbed to the demands of one of a few rebel groups just because it has the backing of the Malaysian government. The soldiers’ sacrifices amounted to nothing, apparently. In times like these, some members of the Philippine military may be starting to question why they have to follow orders from a commander-in-chief who doesn’t fully understand the kind of people he is dealing with.

Even before the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement made it as headline news, there were already reports of a secret meeting between Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, chair of the secessionist MILF, and BS Aquino held in Tokyo Japan in 2011. Back then BS Aquino’s move was already met with criticism for lack of transparency and disregard for protocols. He did not bother to consult with the necessary agencies and other branches of government about his agendas in meeting with the rebel group.

Even one of the President’s closest allies, Senator Francis Escudero, found reason to question the propriety of the President secretly meeting with Murad.

“I think the President may have been ill-advised to meet personally as he (Murad) is not even his counterpart. And it might not be a good tactic in the negotiations,” he said.

He said Deles should “protect the President from such things.”

“She should just do her job and give her President deniability with respect to this early stage of the negotiations,” Escudero said.

House Minority Leader Edcel Lagman on Friday said that Mr. Aquino broke his own promise of full transparency and took unnecessary risks without any tangible gains in meeting with the MILF leader.

“The country is not the personal fiefdom of President Aquino. Any presidential move which has a bearing on national interest and national security must be transparent and discussed with the Cabinet and the National Security Council. The President’s secret trip to Japan to meet MILF leaders violates his avowed policy on transparency,” said Lagman in a phone interview.

Lagman questioned the urgency or necessity of having the President himself meet with Murad.

Lagman was right all along when he thought there was something fishy going on when BS Aquino went to Japan to shake the hands of the rebel leader. A few years after that initial meeting, we now know that he did disregard the Constitution and entered into a contract with the MILF even without the approval of Congress and the judiciary. Here’s the part of the Bangsamoro agreement where some legal experts agree that BS Aquino may have overstepped his role when he represented the Philippine government:

Part 7, para. 4, subpara (b) provides that one of the functions of the Transition Commission is “to work on proposals to amend the Philippine Constitution for the purpose of amending and enriching in the Constitution the agreements of the parties whenever necessary without derogating from any prior peace agreement.”

The above section indicates that amendment of the Constitution is needed to make the agreement legal. Which makes some people wonder why BS Aquino and his staff were already euphoric after the ceremonial signing was held recently. They are very good at celebrating without yet seeing the results of their efforts.

Indeed, BS Aquino has proven time and again that he thinks he can do whatever he wants, whenever and wherever. He must have thought that he can deal with members of the congress and judiciary later on. It’s not hard to imagine him saying “Ako ang bahala sa kanila” (I’ll take care of them) when someone raised the legal hurdles.

Only one of many: Armed Islamic militant groups continue to roam Mindanao
Only one of many: Armed Islamic militant groups continue to roam Mindanao
BS Aquino probably thought that it would be easier to get the thumbs-up from members of Congress and the judiciary after the so-called peace agreement between the MILF and the Philippine government has been signed. It should be noted as per Senator Miriam Santiago, that part of the “peace” deal is to give the former rebel group “exclusive” jurisdiction over natural resources in the Bangsomoro territory and to create a substate and “allocation to the Bangsamoro of all powers exercised by the national government over local government units”.

Likewise, BS Aquino must have thought that the lawmakers and the justices would not be able to resist amending the Constitution to make the Bangsamoro agreement “legal” if there is enough media hype and as long as they keep telling everyone that the signing is “historic” and “will bring peace in Mindanao”. Never mind that a similar agreement was entered into by previous governments particularly by former President Gloria Arroyo and her Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) during her term but was eventually declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2008.

BS Aquino also stressed that he will classify the passing of the agreement with congress as “urgent”. That’s another indication that he thinks he has power over members of Congress and can dictate to them what should be prioritized. With enough allies in congress and the likely arrest of three senators from the opposition implicated in the pork barrel scam, he may just get priority over other important bills that are pending.

In order to understand what BS Aquino has done; just imagine a spoilt brat demanding his parents give him a big birthday party because he already told his friends he is having one.

Hopefully, members of Congress who are no longer beholden to BS Aquino will not allow him to get away with abusing his power. It would be interesting to see how these men and women deal with the President now that the priority assistance fund (PDAF) and the disbursement acceleration program fund (DAP) have been scrapped.

[Photo of BS Aquino and Murad Ebrahim courtesy Peace Builders Community.]

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Post Author: Ilda

In life, things are not always what they seem.

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51 Comments on "Legal experts say President Noynoy Aquino’s Bangsamoro deal is illegal"

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Jim DiGriz
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Malacanang is just desperate to achieve something, anything, to keep the propaganda machine running. How they get it and what it actually means evades most people anyway, as the lights are on, but nobody is home. The yellow hordes needed some food again to spread their vomit.

Lord Chimera
Guest

Here’s another problem that COULD happen in the future: what if the MILF becomes strong that they will SECEDED from the Philippines?

Gogs
Member

This is a photo op/ headline grabbing administration. Just don’t expect any substance. Not sure why he gift wrapped the ampaw notion.

libertas
Guest

No Nobel for No balls aquino.

Thomas Jefferson
Guest
Here are some of the issues against the Framework Agreement on the Bansamoro found by Lawyer Perfecto Yasay Jr., former chairman of the Securiies and Exchange Commission: 1. It conveniently fails to uphold the Constitution, and overlooks inviolate provisions on sovereignty and territorial integrity. 2. The model for Bangsamoro exceeds the legal parameters for autonomous regions and requires entrenching its electoral system with distinct attributes inappropriate for our presidential system but more resembling the ministerial or parliamentary mold of neighboring countries like Malaysia. 3. It seeks constitutional amendments to confirm the legality of a Framework Agreement instead of the Framework… Read more »
Thomas Jefferson
Guest
CONTINUED… c)Equitable sharing of power and wealth under the Framework Agreement grants equal control and supervision of all natural resources. All revenues generated through their exploration, development and utilization are to be divided between the Parties. However, there are express provisions vesting Bangsamoro with exclusive authority to develop a comprehensive program for the sustainable development, conservation and utilization of natural resources that would seem to sustain the view that control and supervision over these matters has been ceded from Central Government. The proposed formula on wealth sharing is that 75 percent of revenues will be apportioned to Bangsamoro while the… Read more »
Thomas Jefferson
Guest
As I said before… The creation of a Bangsamoro state carries with it all the elements of a state. What is to stop them from declaring complete independence and later on international recognition? A new Pan Islamic State and a new country will arise in Mindanao and we will all be the losers. I hope the defenders of the Constitution will again rise to the challenge in filing cases before the Supreme Court. The Bangsamoro and and its creation is still patently unconstitutional. Damn you to hell Mr. Aquino for giving all the benefits and advantages in continuously supporting the… Read more »
cs luis
Guest

Hi,

Aside from what the current administration has done, what alternatives can you propose to end the armed conflict in Mindanao?

It seems what we got here are constant whining and criticisms against the president without offering a better alternative.

What we need are solutions not second-guessings that will lead us into further confusion.

MidwayHaven
Guest
I assume you haven’t read a lot of articles here in GRP; we have an entire section for the solutions you’re asking. Anyway, to be specific, a good solution would be to NOT deal with the MILF. Has the Filipino public forgotten that they beheaded army officers on film? Another would be to remove the restrictions of the 1987 Constitution that maintain a stagnant form of protectionism. Once the Constitution is amended (something which I don’t see happening in this decade at least), then economic freedoms could enter western Mindanao and can give the opportunity for the people there to… Read more »
cs luis
Guest

Okay. So by not dealing with the MILF, gov’t will just ignore them and go on as usual? That’s been the status quo since Marcos’ time.

The only way to resolve this issue is to reach out to the other side and have a dialog.

Military conflict will only balkanize the region (unless of course we nuked the whole of Mindanao).

MidwayHaven
Guest

@cs luis: Didn’t you read the entirety of my comment? I gave other alternatives.

Thomas Jefferson
Guest
@cs luis “Aside from what the current administration has done, What alternatives can you propose to end the armed conflict in Mindanao?” BS Aquino has recklessly given all the advantages and benefits to the MILF Bangsamoro criminal, bandit, terrorist group. The MILF is currently allied with the New People’s Army(NPA), Abu Sayaff Group(ASG), Jemaah Islamiya(JI) and the Al Quaeda in Asia. Do you seriously think that there will be peace given the alliances of the MILF? The BIFF which is still part of the MILF will never give up their war of secession. Why did BS Aquino always deal from… Read more »
Lassssst
Guest

Alternative solution: Let the MILF integrate themselves to the Philippine government, surrender their arms, and co-exist peacefully. Otherwise, wipe them out from Mindanao as Erap did.

romy sinajon
Guest
What I think is another opinion and article that is narrow minded , xenophobic and totally not understanding the culture and identity of the Bangsamoro people. this Bangsamoro deal is a deal of a lifetime for millions of Pilipinos to better their lives without threat of war. This is giving the Muslims authority to live their own lives , govern themselves and live peacefully with the rest of the people in this areas. The Muslims have there own identity,set of values and culture totally different from Christian Pilipinos. They have live and wage war a hundred of years in Mindanao… Read more »
Hyden Toro
Guest
@Romy Sinajon: Muslims have radical elements in their midst. Like all kinds of religion. Turkey moved out from it’s Church/State government, many years ago. It’s now a secular state. Sharia Law will treat Non Muslims, as second class citizens. Look at the Taliban reign in Afgahnistan…Al Queda inspired Muslim Radicals will always be in the midst of Islamic States. Al Queda wants to impose Islam to the whole world. There will be no peace in Mindanao…this is as sure as the Sun rises tomorrow. I don’t believe in Church/State governments. Church or Mosque must be separated, always. We don’t want… Read more »
Lord Chimera
Guest
That is the most problematical aspect of Islam, it’s radicalism nature. Nowadays most terrorists and fanatics are Islamic and do you see any Christians or other mainstream religions calling for a jihad or establishment of a theocracy? That’s problem here when dealing with Muslims especially those using force to get what they want. Sure it is easy to say that “They have the right to govern themselves, practice there religion, live their culture and live peacefully side by side with Christian Pilipinos” but they have a tendency to omit the “live peacefully side by side with Christian Pilipinos” part. Look… Read more »
JT Jerzy
Guest

They have the right to practice their religion and be free from any religious antagonisms. THAT IS IT, they do not have the right to implement that sharia law just because the gov’t. doesn’t have the balls to enforce the constitution that the country is founded on.The people who win the elections make up the rules,yes? Have the muslims won any elections nation-wide lately?

MidwayHaven
Guest

@romy sinajon: How about non-Muslims in Bangsamoro, then? Would they be treated as “dhimmi,” politically and religiously inferior to the Muslims in that “state within a state?”

Thomas Jefferson
Guest
@romy sinajon The MOA ancestral domain was shot down by the Supreme Court. The Bangsamoro cannot claim the existence of an ancestral domain. They never proved historic title or offered proof that they were the first to occupy Mindanao. Philippine history says that the first ethnic groups that crossed the land bridges were the Aetas. Add the empires that occupied Mindanao before the muslims invaded Mindanao. Self rule for Jihadists is dangerous. Jihadists do not believe in peace with infidels. A Pan Islamic State will rise in Mindanao! The MILF Jihadists and their allies I mentioned murdered people before. What… Read more »
Hyden Toro
Guest
As Gen. MacArthur had stated: “There is no substitute for victory.” Gen. MacArthur was winning the Korean War, against the North Korean, Chinese and Russian. However, he was restrained by the politicians in the U.S. President Truman fired him. Now, North Korea is the “pain in the ass” of the U.S., and its allies in the Far East. The Sri Lankan military easily defeated the Tamil Tigers, who were waging a long vicious Guerilla warfare, for their independence. You can learn from them. Guerilla tactics in war is really a “a pain in the ass”. However, Technology and Strategies win… Read more »
JT Jerzy
Guest

“Mac”Arthur was going to start WW3 and that was why Truman fired him. He was just like Patton was after the allies invaded Germany in ’45, but luckily for ‘MAC’, he did not suffer the same fate as Patton did.

Hyden Toro
Guest

@JT Jerzy:

The U.S. had the strategic weapons;military advantage and good Generals. I still believe the Old good MAC was right…They should had finished the fight…look at what’s happening to South East Asia now…Kim Un Jong, on the go to give pain in the ass to everybody…

Hyden Toro
Guest

@Thomas Jefferson:

You don’t have to have a brain of a British Quantum/Astro Physicist: Stephen Hawkins to understand the Mindanao/Basang Moro deal. Nor a brain to understand Quantum Mechanics…It’s simple; if you just use your Common Sense…which Aquino and his Cahoot political Mafia have been trying to show us…they are just plain stupid…

JT Jerzy
Guest
The point is that the deal with the Muslims is borne out of weakness. For the idiot to just secede sovereign territory of his own country to a foreign government or religious factions is sheer idiocy. Again, these agreements are done due to lack of strength of the countries military capabilities.(Follow the money!) ****Now hear this***** Even IF the three senators that are going to face some type of trial or other such bullshit proceedings, THEY WILL NEVER GO TO JAIL and NEVER GIVE ANY MONEY BACK. NEVER!!!! GMA did not have any problems but a few moments of laughable… Read more »
Hyden Toro
Guest

Aquino says…”IT’S SHOWTIME, BABY!!!”

JT Jerzy
Guest

IF SHARIA LAW has come to Mindanao? THE PHILIPPINES IS NOW, ‘OFFICIALLY’… COMPLETELY FUCKED!

Yawn
Guest

Code name Little Boy solves all problems.

Hyden Toro
Guest

@Yawn:

It solved the problem in Japan, some years back…the Japanese Emperor Hirohito is their God. So, they had: “kamikaze pilots”; suicide attacks of Japanese troops; etc…they die for their “Emperor God”…it is now ironic…these radical Muslims are dying for Allah; to have 72 Virgins and Paradise, after their martyrdom…

JT Jerzy
Guest

Go for it, just let the infidels leave before the ‘li’l boy’ goes off. What a sick ass name for such a nasty weapon.

Hyden Toro
Guest

Sharia laws require men to grow Beard…dress like Arabs. Women must cover themselves with Burkas…cannot shake hands with men. Women cannot go out without a male escort. Non Muslims are subject to the power of ” Islamic religious police”, laws implemented according to the teachings of the Islamic Koran. Public executions like those in Saudi Arabia will be implemented. You are forced to watch the cutting of heads…

Ako
Guest

“UNJUST THIEVING LIARS”

Thomas Jefferson
Guest

The moment BS Aquino gave wealth sharing to this Jihadist influenced state is the time we will lose our strategic resources of natural gas and oil. With these resources they can and will build an armory of sophisticated weapons including fighter jets and ships. Welcome the Pan Islamic Super State! The worst is yet to come!

JT Jerzy
Guest

This is definitely an idiotic move, whoever has been left out of the agreement will start blown shit up like a disgruntled postal svc. employee in the USA.

BUT BUT BUT the USA will not let the radical elements of Islam buy fighter jets and build an army in Mindanao, they just won’t let it happen. Super state, no….the avg. Filipino living in Mindanao will not benefit one bit from this agreement.

Thomas Jefferson
Guest

Ilda thanks for the eye opener… great article as usual!

I have a question for mister BS Aquino. Does he have the power to create a body like a transition commission to work on proposals to amend the Philippine Constitution for the Bangsamoro? I believe the answer is a resounding no! From the beginning…every aspect of the peace deal was shot full with multiple violations of the Philippine Constitution. Let us hope that our lawyers rise to the occasion to defend and uphold the Constitution before the Supreme Court! May God defend the right!

Thomas Jefferson
Guest
Damn you to hell BS Aquino! Your reckless support at all costs in giving all the aid, benefits and advantages to the criminal, bandit, terrorist group of the Bangsamoro Moro Islamic Liberation Front(MILF) speaks for itself! Because of what you did for them, global jihad is now more alive and well in Mindanao! Our American allies will take note of your continuing support to the MILF. When and if they finally get their jihadist state within the Philippine state, the seeds of Pan Islamic terrorism will have been planted and will grow outward as they seek domination and conquest to… Read more »
Eric
Guest

I agree with you. I’m from Mindanao and a law student. I’ve read the text of the BBL and following it to the letter violates the basic foundations of a democratic society. Shariah law in particular, even if it is to be applied to muslims only, if inserted into the legal system will circumvent the principle of separation of church and state and pave the way for a whole lot of abuses to take shape.

Hyden Toro
Guest

There is a good side in Sharia laws: they Cut the fingers and arms of thieves…let us implement Sharia laws on our politicians, their cahoots, political leaders, etc…Cut their fingers and arms at Plaza Miranda…this will solve the thievery in the government…Aquino is the first to go…

phantommagnum
Guest

As I recall there’s a US senator being charged with corruption and selling guns illegally which he managed to procure from the MILF through Philippine contacts.

I’m amazed or should I say not surprised that story isn’t circulated that much in the Philippine media.

Thomas Jefferson
Guest

Here is proof of a fake peace from the global jihad followers in Mindanao. From the Manila Times:

http://www.manilatimes.net/4000-milf-troops-join-mnlf/88364/