PHNO HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

'CASE VS BBL PREMATURE'
[SC ORDERS GOVT TO ANSWER PETITIONS VS BANGSAMORO DEALS]


JUNE 24 ---The Supreme Court, File photo The Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) has not yet been passed so questioning its legality is premature, the Supreme Court ruled yesterday. But the high court took cognizance of two petitions seeking to void the agreement forged by the government with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) for the creation of a Bangsamoro entity. Supreme Court spokesman Theodore Te said SC justices decided in session to dismiss the petition filed against the BBL last month by a certain Rolando Mijares for being premature. The SC held that there was still no justifiable issue since Congress was still deliberating on the BBL. The petition was also not docketed, which means the petitioner was not able to pay the filing fees. In a press conference, Te said the SC ordered the government to answer the separate petitions of the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) and former Negros Oriental congressman Jacinto Paras assailing the constitutionality of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), including the earlier Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and its annexes. READ MORE...

ALSO: ‘Premature? BBL a form of MOA-AD invalidated by SC 5 years ago -Zamboanga solon


JUNE 25 ---LOBREGAT Zamboanga Rep. Celso Lobregat said that the Bangsamoro Basic Law, or its replacement bill, is an advanced form of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain. ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – The Bangsamoro Basic Law, or its replacement bill, is an advanced form of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) that was invalidated by the Supreme Court (SC) for being unconstitutional five years ago, a BBL opponent said yesterday. Zamboanga Rep. Celso Lobregat said he pointed this out during the last plenary debate, particularly the provisions of the illegal MOA-AD now found in the basic law such as on territory, wealth sharing, concept and power sharing. “And during the MOA-AD, the Supreme Court ruled, it took cognizance and ruled. I do not see why the Supreme Court cannot take cognizance and rule on the matter,” Lobregat said. The high court did not rule on the petition, which it deemed premature because BBL was not yet a law. But the SC took cognizance of the other two petitions seeking to void the agreement forged between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) for the creation of the Bangsamoro region. Meanwhile, the city prosecutor of Manila formed a panel to handle the first criminal case against framers of the BBL, particularly against members of the negotiating panel of the government and the MILF. Chief prosecutor Edward Togonon formed the three-man panel to look for probable cause to file the case in court. Respondents include chief government negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, Presidential Adviser for the Peace Process Teresita Deles and MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal. READ MORE...

ALSO: SC gives MILF, DBM, CoA 10 days to comment on FAB, CAB


JUNE 24 ---SC spokesman
The Supreme Court (SC) has ordered the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) along with Malacañang to answer two suits challenging the constitutionality of the controversial negotiations through the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) which led to the Congress’ draft on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). In a press briefing yesterday, court spokesman Theodore Te announced that the high court ordered two separate cases on the controversy to be consolidated. The consolidated case was originally filed separately by former Negros Oriental Rep. Jacinto Paras (docketed as GR 218407) and the Philippine Constitutional Association or Philconsa (docketed as GR 218406). The respondents in the case were required to submit their comment on the petition and the application for a temporary restraining order (TRO) within 10 days. The Philconsa case had included the MILF among its respondents which also include the Sec. of Budget and Management and the Commission on Audit. A third case filed by a certain Rolando Mijares docketed as UDK 1597 was dismissed by the court for being premature, as the complainant focused on the BBL which has not even been enacted into law and therefore is non-existent. Also yesterday, Associate Justice Marvic Leonen who served as the chairman of the government negotiating panel that negotiated the FAB before being appointed to the Supreme Court, voluntarily inhibited himself from participation in the cases. READ MORE...

ALSO by Francisco Tatad: The draft BBL is inedible fruit, FAB and CAB the toxic roots


JUNE 23 ---Because of this, we went to the Supreme Court last Friday,June 19, on the 154th birth anniversary of Jose Rizal, our national hero, not to question the constitutionality of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (Babala), which seeks to create an Islamic “sub-state” for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and is facing opposition even in the otherwise pliant Congress, but rather to question the constitutionality of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB). From these two agreements, entered into between the Aquino government and the MILF from 2012 to 2014, comes the objectionable draft law.
From the petitioners’ perspective, the FAB and the CAB are consummated crimes; the proposed Babala or Bababa (Bangsamoro Basic Bill) is still in progress. By “we” I refer to the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa), represented by its president, Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez of Leyte, Archbishop Ramon Arguelles of Lipa, Archbishop Emeritus Fernando Capalla of Davao, former defense secretary and national security adviser Norberto B. Gonzales and myself. Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos of the Diocese of Butuan had wanted to be a signatory, but could not travel to Manila to sign the document. Arguelles was the first to sign, but had to leave for the United States and Canada the day before, and could not join the filing. Justice Manuel Lazaro of the M.M. Lazaro and Associates headed the panel of lawyers as lead counsel. Who are these people? The Philconsa is a venerable institution at the vanguard in the defense of the Constitution. READ MORE...

ALSO MORE ON 2016 BETS: Commentary by Ramon Tulfo --The Binay government programs 


JUNE 27 ---Vice President Jejomar Binay and Mayor Rodrigo Duterte
VICE President Jojo Binay said he left the Aquino Cabinet because he could no longer allow the vilification attacks against the programs of government he had started in Makati City when he was mayor and which he wanted implemented all over the country. Okay, what programs of government did he launch in Makati City when he was its mayor? Is one of those programs the construction of Makati City Hall Building II and Makati Science High School building which were found to be grossly overpriced? READ MORE...

ALSO: Are they pairing up? Roxas reveals details of talk with Duterte


JUNE 27 ---MEETING OF FRIENDS. Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte (L), Interior Chief Mar Roxas (center), and Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, founder of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, The Name Above Every Name (R) talking over dinner in Davao City on May 22. Photo sourced by Rappler TAGUM CITY, Philippines—The morning after he met with Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II said the meeting did not touch on the 2016 presidential elections. On the sidelines of DILG’s turnover of eight patrol jeeps to the local police here on Saturday, Roxas said his meeting with Duterte was just an encounter between two good, old friends. “Matagal na kaming magkaibigan ni Mayor Digong. Kapag nasa Manila siya, nagkikita kami doon. Kapag nandito ako (sa Davao), nagkikita kami,” Roxas said in an interview with reporters. (Mayor Digong (Duterte) and I have been friends for a long time. When he’s in Manila, we see each other. When I am in Davao, we see each other.) READ MORE...

ALSO It’s final: I’m not running–Duterte


JUNE 26 ---DUTERTE: 
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday slammed the door shut on a potential run for the presidency in 2016, offering profuse apologies to the assembled crowd of businessmen, supporters, staffers and media at the Asia CEO Forum. Speaking to an audience of a few hundred, the outspoken and hard-charging local executive expressed his regrets for deciding to stay away from the national political race. “I’m sorry but it really won’t happen,” he said in a mix of English and Filipino. “Like I said, it is really no longer my time. I really don’t want it.” Duterte—who gained fame and notoriety for running Mindanao’s largest metropolitan area with an iron hand, imposing tough restrictions on vehicle speed, littering and fireworks, among others, as well as being linked to vigilante groups—has gained a small but growing following among Filipinos who are frustrated with the nation’s problems and government’s perceived inability to deal with them decisively. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

‘Case vs BBL premature’, SC orders gov’t to answer petitions vs Bangsamoro deal


File photo

MANILA, JUNE 29, 2015 (PHILSTAR) By Edu Punay June 24, 2015 - The Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) has not yet been passed so questioning its legality is premature, the Supreme Court ruled yesterday.

But the high court took cognizance of two petitions seeking to void the agreement forged by the government with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) for the creation of a Bangsamoro entity.

Supreme Court spokesman Theodore Te said SC justices decided in session to dismiss the petition filed against the BBL last month by a certain Rolando Mijares for being premature.

The SC held that there was still no justifiable issue since Congress was still deliberating on the BBL. The petition was also not docketed, which means the petitioner was not able to pay the filing fees.

In a press conference, Te said the SC ordered the government to answer the separate petitions of the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) and former Negros Oriental congressman Jacinto Paras assailing the constitutionality of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), including the earlier Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and its annexes.

READ MORE...

The SC specifically ordered the respondents – former government peace panel chief and now Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, chief peace negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, MILF peace panel head Mohagher Iqbal, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and the Commission on Audit (COA) – to submit their respective comments on the petition and the application for a temporary restraining order (TRO).

They were given a period of 10 days from receipt of notice to comply with the order.

The two petitions were also consolidated by the high court.

Leonen, being a respondent, has inhibited in the case.

In their petitions last week, both Philconsa and Paras alleged that the government peace panel committee committed grave abuse of discretion in signing the FAB and CAB on Oct. 12, 2012 and March 27, 2014, respectively.

They said both agreements were a revival of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) forged by the previous administration with the MILF, which was declared unconstitutional by the high court in October 2008.


Transcript 1. UPDATES ON THE NEW AUTONOMOUS POLITICAL ENTITY AKA BANGSAMORO Presdentation by Fr. Eliseo ‘Jun’ Mercado, OMI Institute for Autonomy and Governance NDU, Cotabato City Published August 13, 2014 FULL TRANSCRIPT CLICK HERE SLIDESHARE.

Petitioners argued that the agreements violated Article X Section 1 of the Constitution, which authorizes and recognizes only five territorial and political subdivisions – provinces, cities, municipalities, barangays and autonomous regions.

They further alleged that CAB and FAB are unconstitutional when they defined the “territory” and “territorial waters” of the proposed Bangsamoro entity.

Article V Section 1 of FAB defines the “core territory” as the current territory covered by the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) plus the cities of Cotabato and Isabela.

Article V Section 4 of the FAB, on the other hand, provided for “territorial waters” of the entity.

They added that the conduct of the peace process with the MILF violated Executive Order No. 125 issued by former President Fidel Ramos, which requires the presence of a panel of advisers composed of one each from the Senate, the House of Representatives and the Cabinet to be designated by the President.

A similar petition against the FAB has been filed before the high court by Elly Pamatong and his group International Ministries for Perfect and Party Against Communism and Terrorism Inc. in December 2012.

Pamatong and his group alleged that the government peace panel committed grave abuse of discretion and violated the constitution, which only provides for ARMM.

Through lawyer Oliver Lozano, they said the creation of a “Bangsamoro” is nowhere cited in the charter.

They further claimed that the government peace panel, as a result, “has usurped the power of Congress to enact, amend or repeal laws vested on it by the Constitution.”

In that same month, the high tribunal acted on the case and ordered the government to answer the petition and submit its comment.

Last March, Lozano asked the high court to resolve their petition so as not to make it moot with the imminent passage of the BBL.

Japan’s reiterates support for Bangsamoro Meanwhile, Japan has reiterated its resolve to assist the Bangsamoro process and help spur development in the area to be covered by the new political entity.

The Japanese government’s commitment to peace and development in Southern Philippines was strongly reaffirmed by Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida during his meeting with Philippine and MILF officials over the weekend.

Kishida received MILF chairman Al Haj Murad Ibrahim, National Commission on Muslim Filipinos Secretary Yasmin Busran-Lao and Philippine Ambassador to Japan Manuel Lopez on the sidelines of the Japan-organized “High-Level Seminar on Peace-building, National Reconciliation and Democratization in Asia” at the United Nations University in the Japanese capital.

He welcomed the steady progress in the Bangsamoro peace process and the commitment demonstrated by the Philippine government and MILF.

Murad thanked Japan for its role in supporting the process through its membership in the International Monitoring Team and the International Contact Group.

He also cited Japan’s crucial role in bringing together the parties at Narita in August 2011, which he described as the “turning point” that truly spurred the peace negotiations.”

Murad acknowledged the clear commitment of President Aquino to seeing the Bangsamoro process through.

Lao also expressed gratitude to Japan, and cited the role of the President’s leadership in galvanizing political support for the Bangsamoro process.

She highlighted the beginning of the decommissioning process for MILF weapons and combatants and the parties’ pushing forward with the normalization process, as a testament to the government and MILF’s resolve to achieving peace, notwithstanding the challenges that the BBL still needs to overcome.

Educational assistance lauded Government peace panel member Senen Bacani lauded yesterday the efforts of Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu and North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza to extend educational assistance to the children of decommissioned MILF combatants.

“Many want to help and contribute in order to have genuine peace and that it is felt by the youth. We would like to thank the likes of Gov. Mangudadatu and Gov. Mendoza who are actively participating in our efforts,” Bacani said.

The Maguindanao provincial government has a scholarship initiative called Maguindanao Program on Education Assistance and Community Empowerment (MagPEACE).

Mangudadatu said the kids of the decommissioned combatants who just graduated from high school would be offered full college subsidy. Mendoza offered the same under North Cotabato’s “Study Now, Pay Never” program.

Both governors maintained that their scholarship programs were not dole-outs.

“Those availing themselves of it will have to pay back when they find jobs after graduation so that funds will still be available for future scholars,” Mangudadatu said.

Mendoza said the scholars “do not have to pay us back with cash” and just have to render service for about two months.

The scholarship programs are not part of the socio-economic packages that were given to the 145 MILF combatants after they turned in their weapons to the Independent Decommissioning Body in a ceremonial event last June 16.

Bacani underscored the role of local government units in sustaining peace efforts and called on all chief executives in the region to follow the lead of the two governors.

“Education is very important for a peaceful and better future for our children. I hope our local executives will follow the lead of Govs. Mangudadatu and Mendoza so that all children will be able to go to school and be empowered ‎better opportunities,” Bacani said.

Bacani also noted that these initiatives show that the sincerity of the MILF to the peace process is now being recognized.

President Aquino, in a speech delivered during the ceremonial decommissioning, called on every Filipino to help in ensuring a smooth transition of MILF fighters to civilian lives and for their families and communities to experience normalcy.

“I believe that the process will only become easier from this point. Thus, I call on everyone: let us repay the trust they have shown us. Let us strive to reach the point in which we can say: we truly gave them every opportunity to change their lives and to reach their dreams,” Aquino said. – With Jose Rodel Clapano, Pia Lee-Brago


PHILSTAR

‘Premature? BBL a form of MOA-AD iinvalidated by SC 5 years ago’ By Roel Pareño (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 25, 2015 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


LOBREGAT

Zamboanga Rep. Celso Lobregat said that the Bangsamoro Basic Law, or its replacement bill, is an advanced form of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain. AP/Bullit Marquez

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – The Bangsamoro Basic Law, or its replacement bill, is an advanced form of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) that was invalidated by the Supreme Court (SC) for being unconstitutional five years ago, a BBL opponent said yesterday.

Zamboanga Rep. Celso Lobregat said he pointed this out during the last plenary debate, particularly the provisions of the illegal MOA-AD now found in the basic law such as on territory, wealth sharing, concept and power sharing.

“And during the MOA-AD, the Supreme Court ruled, it took cognizance and ruled. I do not see why the Supreme Court cannot take cognizance and rule on the matter,” Lobregat said.

The high court did not rule on the petition, which it deemed premature because BBL was not yet a law.

But the SC took cognizance of the other two petitions seeking to void the agreement forged between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) for the creation of the Bangsamoro region.

Meanwhile, the city prosecutor of Manila formed a panel to handle the first criminal case against framers of the BBL, particularly against members of the negotiating panel of the government and the MILF.

Chief prosecutor Edward Togonon formed the three-man panel to look for probable cause to file the case in court.

Respondents include chief government negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, Presidential Adviser for the Peace Process Teresita Deles and MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal.

READ MORE...

Also named respondents are government negotiating panel members Senen Bacani, Yasmin Busran-Lao, Mehol Sadain, Zenonida Brosas.

The MILF negotiators included in the complaint were Michael Mastura, Maulana Alonto, Abdulla Camilian and Antonio Kino.

Transition Commission members Ibrahim Ali, Talib Abdulhamid Benito, Pedripo Eisma, Raissa Jajurie, Froilyn Mendoza, Hussein Muñoz, Akmad Sakam, Said Shiek, Asani Tammang, Timuay Melanio Ulama and Johaira Wahab were also charged.

Party-list Reps. Lito Atienza of Buhay and Jonathan de la Cruz of Abakada, and lawyer Jeremy Gatdula filed the complaint before the Manila City Prosecutor’s Office.

They said that by formulating the BBL and its perceived unconstitutional provisions, the government negotiators and the MILF are encouraging armed groups in Mindanao to “eventually rise publicly.”

Lobregat, however, who was among the petitioners against the MOA-AD, said the botched agreement with the MILF was in the nature of an executive agreement and there was no law yet.

“In fact there was no comprehensive agreement but still the Supreme Court already ruled,” he said.

“This peace process now is in a more advance form than what it was during the MOA-AD,” Lobregat said.

Lobregat said the peace agreement between the government and the MILF also states all such agreements must be implemented.

“So I say, what will happen now if Congress amends, revises, deletes, adds provisions and the MILF will say that is not according to what we signed?” Lobregat asked.

Lobregat revealed there was a letter of the MILF addressed to Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, chairman of the ad hoc committee at the House of Representatives tackling the BBL, that they were negotiating with the totality of the Philippine government.

“Also in that letter it says… that Congress will pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law with no changes at all,” Lobregat said.

Lobregat stressed that as a lawmaker, he will try to ensure that in Congress they will come up with a Bangsamoro Basic Law that is fair, just, feasible, acceptable and consistent with the Constitution.

He disclosed that in the proposed bill and even its substitute, there were provisions added and subtracted.

Among those added was the issue of self-determination that was never mentioned in the Framework of Agreement of the Bangsamoro (FAB) and the Comprehensive Agreement of the Bangsamoro (CAB) and its four annexes.

Lobregat said the normalization was not also mentioned in the proposed basic law.

Albay Gov. Joey Salceda pushed for the passage of the BBL, which he said would promote good governance and address the Bangsamoro aspirations for self-determination and self-governance.

Salceda said the Bangsamoro would be different from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) because of its unique government structure that would ensure balance in political power for all sectors and ensure proper representation for all stakeholders in the new political entity. – Jose Rodel Clapano, Aie Balagtas-See


TRIBUNE

SC gives MILF, DBM, CoA 10 days to comment on FAB, CAB Written by Benjamin B. Pulta Wednesday, 24 June 2015 00:00


SC spokesman

The Supreme Court (SC) has ordered the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) along with Malacañang to answer two suits challenging the constitutionality of the controversial negotiations through the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) which led to the Congress’ draft on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

In a press briefing yesterday, court spokesman Theodore Te announced that the high court ordered two separate cases on the controversy to be consolidated.

The consolidated case was originally filed separately by former Negros Oriental Rep. Jacinto Paras (docketed as GR 218407) and the Philippine Constitutional Association or Philconsa (docketed as GR 218406).

The respondents in the case were required to submit their comment on the petition and the application for a temporary restraining order (TRO) within 10 days.

The Philconsa case had included the MILF among its respondents which also include the Secretary of Budget and Management and the Commission on Audit.

A third case filed by a certain Rolando Mijares docketed as UDK 1597 was dismissed by the court for being premature, as the complainant focused on the BBL which has not even been enacted into law and therefore is non-existent.

Also yesterday, Associate Justice Marvic Leonen who served as the chairman of the government negotiating panel that negotiated the FAB before being appointed to the Supreme Court, voluntarily inhibited himself from participation in the cases.

READ MORE...

The SC announced that Leonen’s recusal encompasses pending cases and future cases involving the FAB, the CAB and the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

The FAB states that “One of the more important steps in changing the present situation is the establishment of the “Bangsamoro”— the new autonomous political entity in Mindanao.

The Bangsamoro will have the necessary powers to run its own government, including the powers necessary for taxation, availment of funds and the creation of wealth, and sharing of revenues from the utilization, development and exploitation of natural resources within its territory.

“ In recognition of the distinct history, culture, and aspirations of the Bangsamoro, the Bangsamoro Government shall enjoy stronger autonomy compared to the local government units of the Philippines. The Bangsamoro shall also have a different form of government, while the rest of the Philippines has a “’presidential’ form. In the parliamentary form of government, there will be a closer relationship between the legislative and the executive branches of government.

“In addition, the Bangsamoro Government shall have competence over the Shari’a justice system, and indigenous systems of conflict resolution.”

The CAB, without the annexes, has 5 pages, representing the final peace agreement between the GPH and the MILF.

A week ago, Philconsa asked the SC to void the agreement forged by the government with the MILF for the proposed creation of a Bangsamoro entity in southern Philippines.

Petitioners Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) and former Negros Oriental Rep. Jacinto Paras asked the high court to declare unconstitutional and void the CAB, as well as the earlier FAB.

Both alleged that the government peace panel committed grave abuse of discretion in signing the FAB and CAB on Oct. 12, 2012 and March 27, 2014, respectively, as both are mere revivals of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain forged by the previous administration with the MILF and which was declared unconstitutional by the high court in October 2008.

Malacañang questioned the timing of the petition and branded it baseless. Senate President Franklin Drilon predicted that the SC will junk the Philconsa petition.

Meanwhile, Sen, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos said that ensuring a business- and investment-friendly environment in Mindanao is one of the goals of the substitute BBL, as he assured European businessmen in the Philippines yesterday.

Marcos, Chairman of the Senate committee on local government tasked to tackle BBL, was the guest speaker of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) during their luncheon meeting yesterday at Makati Shangri-la Hotel. He is also pushing a substitute BBL that addresses significant flaws of the draft BBL.

He explained that the BBL essentially aims to recalibrate the terms of the political autonomy granted to the Muslim Mindanao region based on the government’s peace agreements with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

However, Marcos said the draft BBL suffers from constitutional infirmities. In addition, it grants exclusive powers to the Bangsamoro government, which could have serious implications on business and the investment climate in Mindanao.

“I am mindful of all these ramifications and the repercussions of the BBL proffered by Malacañang. To address these, I have vowed to consider all the relevant views and the helpful suggestions that the committee was able to gather during its several hearings, in order to craft an amended bill that is inclusive and beneficial to all,” Marcos said.

“I am doing this in recognition and in respect of the various interests that stand to be affected and threatened by this monumental legislation, including those of the business sector, both local and foreign, which depend on the healthy operation of the markets in the Philippines for their survival,” he added.

Under the draft BBL, the Bangsamoro government would enjoy exclusive powers governing taxation; the regulation of trade, industry and investment and business; and labor and employment.

These powers cover various industries and sectors including power generation, distribution and transmission; mining policy; agriculture and food security, including the manufacture of food, drinks and drugs; land management and housing; regulation of public utilities, including take-over powers; regulation of the financial and banking system; among others.

Emphasizing that these are exclusive powers to be granted to the Bangsamoro government, Marcos said it is possible for the Bangsamoro legislature to enact laws that could amend, render inapplicable, or even supplant laws that otherwise apply to the entire Philippines.

For example, Marcos said the Bangsamoro government can enact and implement within its territory its own tax code, labor code, trade and investments laws, banking laws, and other similar regulations.


MANILA TIMES

The draft BBL is inedible fruit, FAB and CAB the toxic roots June 23, 2015 11:43 pm FRANCISCO S. TATAD


by FRANCISCO S. TATAD

Because of this, we went to the Supreme Court last Friday, June 19, on the 154th birth anniversary of Jose Rizal, our national hero, not to question the constitutionality of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (Babala), which seeks to create an Islamic “sub-state” for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and is facing opposition even in the otherwise pliant Congress, but rather to question the constitutionality of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

From these two agreements, entered into between the Aquino government and the MILF from 2012 to 2014, comes the objectionable draft law.

From the petitioners’ perspective, the FAB and the CAB are consummated crimes; the proposed Babala or Bababa (Bangsamoro Basic Bill) is still in progress.

By “we” I refer to the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa), represented by its president, Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez of Leyte, Archbishop Ramon Arguelles of Lipa, Archbishop Emeritus Fernando Capalla of Davao, former defense secretary and national security adviser Norberto B. Gonzales and myself.

Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos of the Diocese of Butuan had wanted to be a signatory, but could not travel to Manila to sign the document. Arguelles was the first to sign, but had to leave for the United States and Canada the day before, and could not join the filing. Justice Manuel Lazaro of the M.M. Lazaro and Associates headed the panel of lawyers as lead counsel.

Who are these people?

The Philconsa is a venerable institution at the vanguard in the defense of the Constitution.

READ MORE...

Arguelles is one of the moral and spiritual leaders of the National Transformation Council, who was military vicar for years. He is an apostle of peace who has ministered to men dying in war.

De la Cruz was bishop of Basilan for 13 years, Antique for eight years and Kidapawan for six before he became Archbishop of Zamboanga. He has lived with armed violence and conflict in Mindanao.

Capalla marked the 40th anniversary of his episcopal ordination last Thursday. He has worked all his life with the Christians, Muslims and lumads in Mindanao.

He was president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines from 2002 to 2004, and for years the moving spirit behind the Bishops-Ulama Conference (BUC).

The BUC was a major participant in the search for peace in Mindanao, from Fidel V. Ramos’ presidency until Aquino abandoned it without any explanation to anyone.

Gonzales, a political activist during the Marcos years, started working for Cory Aquino, but ended as GMA’s trusted defense secretary and national security adviser. He has lived and worked with Muslims for years.

In my case, I am an everyday Catholic whom the Islamic Sultanate League in Marawi made honorary Sultan a-Makalangkap (Bearer of Truth), while serving the first part of my 10 long years in the Marcos Cabinet.

In 1996, as senator, I met Nur Misuari, the Moro National Liberation Front chairman, twice in his home ground—the only senator he had agreed to meet with–prior to the MNLF peace accord with the Ramos government.

In 1998, I talked to Haji Murad, now MILF chairman, at Camp Abubakar.

For me, the participation of the three Catholic archbishops (several others would have joined if we were able to circulate the petition for signature) is a most reassuring proof that while some shepherds may have been misled to pronounce as “overwhelmingly acceptable” what is clearly a travesty, there will always be other worthy pastors to lead the way.

None of the petitioners is an enemy of the MILF or of peace.

We all want and work for peace. But we are convinced that, contrary to what the Aquino government and the MILF have said about the FAB and the CAB, these will create conditions of war rather than of peace.

Thus our petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, with prayer for the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order and writ of preliminary injunction, seeks to declare the FAB and the CAB and any and all acts and activities arising therefrom as unconstitutional and void, and to restrain, enjoin and prohibit the Department of Budget and Management and the Commission on Audit from approving the release and expenditure of funds for any act or activity related thereto.

Named respondents are Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic M.V. E. Leonen, in his capacity as chief government negotiator and signatory to the FAB; UP Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, in her capacity as chief government negotiator and signatory to the CAB; the MILF, represented by its chief negotiator and signatory Mohagher Iqbal; Budget Secretary Florencio Abad; and the Commission on Audit.

Both Leonen and Ferrer are sued in their personal as well as official capacity.

The first question people ask is, why proceed against the FAB and the CAB, when it is the proposed Babala that seeks to create the demonstrably unconstitutional and invalid Islamic sub-state for the MILF?

Answer: Because although the Babala has stirred people’s passions to boiling point, we cannot predict its final fate in Congress, while the FAB, signed by the parties on October 12, 2012, and the CAB, signed on March 27, 2014, are already signed documents, and may now be questioned before the court.

If anyone sees the draft Babala as patently unconstitutional and extremely dangerous, it is because the mother documents from which it is drawn are both patently unconstitutional and extremely dangerous.

To the petitioners, the FAB and the CAB present a clear and present danger to the security, safety and peace of the nation and the state.

They threaten, in their view, to dismember the national territory, fragment its people, despoil its natural and human resources, wreck its tripartite system of government and ultimately destroy the Republic.

MOA-AD (Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain)

In entering into a peace agreement with the MILF alone, to the exclusion of the MNLF, the Sultanate of Sulu, other Islamic rebel groups, and the much more numerous lumads; and in agreeing to create for the MILF a Bangsamoro political entity with exclusive and unwarranted powers asymmetric to those of the central government, to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and to be run by a “ministerial form of government” under a basic law to which the Constitution must be made to conform by compulsory amendment, should there be a conflict between the proposed basic law and the Constitution, Leonen and Ferrer, in the petitioners’ view, created two constitutional monstrosities, which dwarf the earlier MOA-AD (Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain) under President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, which the SC struck down as unconstitutional and void in 2008.

From the petitioners’ perspective, in granting the MILF all the rights and privileges contained in the FAB and the CAB, which the Executive alone or its surrogate cannot grant without first amending the appropriate articles of the Constitution, the respondents acted with grave abuse of discretion tantamount to lack or excess of jurisdiction. The result is an ultra vires or a constitutional nullity, which could not confer any rights, nor impose any duties.

What is most puzzling is that instead of insisting that both parties to the FAB and the CAB adhere strictly to the Constitution, the respondents gave the MILF everything they wanted from the government, in the apparent belief that total surrender to the rebel group was the only way to procure “peace.”

This reduces the Constitution into a mere scrap of paper and turns a peace agreement into a copout.

In creating the so-called Bangsamoro political entity, the parties completely forgot that the Constitution defines the country’s territorial and political subdivisions as follows: provinces, cities, municipalities, barangay.

The Bangsamoro political entity is not one of these.

Indeed, the Constitution provides that “there shall be created autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and the Cordilleras consisting of provinces, cities, municipalities and geographical areas sharing common and distinctive historical and cultural heritage, economic and social structures, and other relevant characteristics within the framework of the Constitution and the national sovereignty as well as territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines.”

But there is an inflexible condition attached to it.

The task of creating these regions is specifically assigned to the First Congress elected under the 1987 Constitution, within 18 months from the organization of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The first Congress complied with this mandate, except that the people of the Cordilleras rejected it.

No other Congress is empowered to pass any organic act to create an autonomous region after this.

If we want to enact a new organic act to create an autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao or the Cordilleras, we must first amend the appropriate article in the Constitution.

Congress cannot simply pass an organic act now and move to amend the Constitution later in order to validate the legislation.

Nor can a mere law create a ministerial form of government for an autonomous region while the national government remains presidential.

Only the Constitution can authorize this arrangement, assuming it is judged to be structurally desirable or permissible.

Just as it would require a revision of the Constitution to shift from a presidential system to a parliamentary one, it would require a similar shift to allow a parliamentary regional structure to exist within the presidential superstructure.

These are but some of the reasons why the petitioners believe the FAB and the CAB are patently void and unconstitutional, and the Budget department should be restrained from disbursing public funds for any act or activity related thereto, which could only be similarly void and unconstitutional.

It goes without saying that the constitutional defeat of the FAB and the CAB, which we are praying for, should not weaken but rather strengthen our search for a just and lasting peace in Mindanao. fstatad@gmail.com


INQUIRER --MORE ON 2016 PRESIDENTIAL BETS

Binay’s programs of government By: Ramon Tulfo @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 02:49 AM June 27th, 2015


Vice President Jejomar Binay and Mayor Rodrigo Duterte

VICE President Jojo Binay said he left the Aquino Cabinet because he could no longer allow the vilification attacks against the programs of government he had started in Makati City when he was mayor and which he wanted implemented all over the country.

Okay, what programs of government did he launch in Makati City when he was its mayor? Is one of those programs the construction of Makati City Hall Building II and Makati Science High School building which were found to be grossly overpriced?

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Is it giving ordinary but expensive cakes to senior residents of the city on their birthday so that his daughter, Nancy Binay, then unemployed but now a senator, would be able to earn a living?

Is it the alleged rigging of bids for the city’s projects to favor contractors who are friends of the Binay family? Is buying real estate properties left and right reportedly using taxpayer money part of the programs of government in Makati?

Is allegedly forcing condominium developers to give the Binay the family a unit or the whole floor, on pain of not being granted a building permit, part of Jojo’s programs of government in Makati?

Is having hundreds of millions of pesos deposited in different banks allegedly in his family’s name or those of his cronies part of Binay’s programs of government in Makati?

If Binay wants all those programs when he was Makati mayor carried out if he becomes President, heaven help us!

* * *

“There is a limit to the patience of a man.Enough is enough (Sobra na, tama na),” said Binay during a speech on his resignation from the Cabinet. That statement should have come from the people.

Rephrased, the statement would come out this way: “There is a limit to the patience of the people. Enough of your play-acting, Mr. Binay.”

* * *

From 9th position, Davao City has jumped to No. 5 on the list of the world’s safest cities. The latest survey was made by the crowdsourcing survey site Numbeo.com.

Davao City’s crime index in the latest survey was 18.18 and its safety index, 81.82, compared to 19.31 crime index and safety index of 80.69 in the past survey.

According to the Numbeo.com survey, the Philippines registered a crime index of 43.11 and a safety index of 58.89. Davao City was next to Bursa City, Turkey, which was considered fourth-safest city in the world.

If Davao City Mayor Rody Duterte becomes President, the Philippines might be in the list of the world’s safest countries. This would attract foreign tourists and investors to our shores.


INQUIRER

Are they pairing up? Roxas reveals details of talk with Duterte By: Yuji Vincent Gonzales @inquirerdotnet INQUIRER.net 12:55 PM June 27th, 2015


MEETING OF FRIENDS. Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte (L), Interior Chief Mar Roxas (center), and Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, founder of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, The Name Above Every Name (R) talking over dinner in Davao City on May 22. Photo sourced by Rappler

TAGUM CITY, Philippines—The morning after he met with Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II said the meeting did not touch on the 2016 presidential elections.

On the sidelines of DILG’s turnover of eight patrol jeeps to the local police here on Saturday, Roxas said his meeting with Duterte was just an encounter between two good, old friends. “Matagal na kaming magkaibigan ni Mayor Digong. Kapag nasa Manila siya, nagkikita kami doon. Kapag nandito ako (sa Davao), nagkikita kami,” Roxas said in an interview with reporters. (Mayor Digong (Duterte) and I have been friends for a long time. When he’s in Manila, we see each other. When I am in Davao, we see each other.)

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On Wednesday night, INQUIRER.net received a photo of Roxas and Duterte’s meeting, which the DILG secretary confirmed. “Ganun lang ‘yun, isang pagtatagpo ng dalawang matalik at matagal nang magkaibigan,” Roxas said. (It’s purely an encounter between two good, old friends.) He added that they talked about Duterte’s golfing hobby, his son, and Davao City, among other topics.

Roxas, the presumptive standard-bearer of the ruling Liberal Party, and Duterte are both potential presidential bets in the upcoming elections, figuring at third and fourth places in recent surveys.

While many LP stalwarts have convinced Roxas to announce his candidacy even without the blessing of President Benigno Aquino III, Duterte in a forum with businessmen and supporters on Thursday seemingly shut his doors on a potential presidential bid.

I’m sorry but it really won’t happen. Like I said, it is really no longer my time. I really don’t want it,” Duterte said, adding that his family has been opposing the prospect of him being elected to the top national post. IDL


INQUIRER

It’s final: I’m not running–Duterte By: Daxim L. Lucas and Miguel R. Camus @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 04:01 AM June 26th, 2015


DAVAO City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte LITO TECSON/CEBU DAILY NEWS FILE PHOTO

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday slammed the door shut on a potential run for the presidency in 2016, offering profuse apologies to the assembled crowd of businessmen, supporters, staffers and media at the Asia CEO Forum.

Speaking to an audience of a few hundred, the outspoken and hard-charging local executive expressed his regrets for deciding to stay away from the national political race.

“I’m sorry but it really won’t happen,” he said in a mix of English and Filipino.

“Like I said, it is really no longer my time. I really don’t want it.”

Duterte—who gained fame and notoriety for running Mindanao’s largest metropolitan area with an iron hand, imposing tough restrictions on vehicle speed, littering and fireworks, among others, as well as being linked to vigilante groups—has gained a small but growing following among Filipinos who are frustrated with the nation’s problems and government’s perceived inability to deal with them decisively.

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Political watchers were expecting Duterte to throw his hat into the presidential derby at Thursday’s event, despite his earlier statements expressing his hesitation at running for a job that would entail managing a massive national bureaucracy that is significantly more complex than his experience with his own local government unit.

Duterte’s political adviser and strategist, Angelito Banayo, sat stoically at the VIP table—occasionally taking gulps of water—while the mayor repeatedly professed his desire not to contest the presidency.

Asked for his reaction after the forum, Banayo replied: “I don’t know. I was stunned myself. It looks like his word was definite.”

Banayo noted that Duterte was always hesitant about seeking higher elective office but said he hoped that a greater public clamor would make the mayor change his mind.

Respond positively

“We were hoping that he would respond positively to the clamor,” said Banayo, who was also the campaign strategist of the similarly themed 2004 presidential bid of former Sen. Panfilo Lacson.

“I think there is enough clamor. I’m happy that the survey ratings have been gradually increasing all over the country. I’m surprised that the increase [was also] in the other parts of the country, not just in Mindanao,” Banayo said.

Asked if there was a window for Duterte to change his mind, he said: “We still have, how many months? Three months?”

Despite Duterte’s announcement, questions put to him during the open forum almost exclusively dealt with the hypothetical scenario of how he would tackle pressing issues “if he were elected President.”

Replying to a question about his management style, the Davao City mayor noted that dealing with both chambers of Congress as the head of the executive branch would be a bureaucratic headache that would require radical reforms.

“Then everyone should reform, including myself…if after one year nothing happens,” he said, painting a theoretical picture of his early days as Philippine President.

Duterte also said that his first priority in a hypothetical presidency would be to push for the exemption from income taxes of those earning P25,000 a month or less.

Increase wages

Secondly, he said that he would also work for an increase in the wages of the members of the police and military, since he believes their salaries are not commensurate to the sacrifices they make to maintain peace and order.

He said the low wages of police personnel were to blame for the rampant corruption among law enforcers.

Dr. Josiah Lim Go, president of Doortech System, said he believes the Chinese-Filipino community would support a Duterte presidential candidacy.

“One [thing going for him] is his work on the peace and order situation. That is very important for the Chinese-Filipino community,” Go said in an interview.

“But I feel I need to get more information about him, I didn’t see that today,” he said.

For Jose Cheng Costales, executive vice president at Sunly Properties Inc., Duterte offers a compelling choice for Filipinos. But he has concerns about the mayor’s age and “extreme” stand on issues.

“I would rather that he retire as a statesman. I think someone younger, with his vision. But we are not ready for someone that extreme,” Costales said.

But Ricky Agana, a retired investment banker, said Duterte should run for President. Moreover, Agana believes the mayor, despite his denials, would pursue the country’s highest office.

“I think with all his pronouncements, that people earning P25,000 or less should not pay taxes, that he will increase the salaries of police and everything, his revolutionary government, that is a platform of government. When you hear that, even if he denies he is running, I presume he will declare one of these days that he will be running,” Agana said.

Very inspiring

“I’d like him to run. I think the speech that he gave was very inspiring. If you need change in this country, you have to look at these kind of people,” Agana said. “If you look at the bigger picture this fellow is very sincere, he will be a good candidate for the presidency.”

Nonetheless, Duterte pointed out that “the opportunity to become President is a window that’s very, very small.”

“Let me tell you, it’s no longer my time,” he repeated. “Give it to somebody else.”
At the end of the forum, Duterte apologized to his supporters who may have thought that Thursday’s event would be a miting de avance or political rally.

“I hope that I did not disappoint you,” he said. “I’m not up to it. There’s always a time in your life when you know that you’ve reached the limit of your purpose. I believe that this is not for me. It belongs to somebody else.”

And then he offered one final apology to the assembled crowd, many of whom exchanged surprised looks as Duterte peppered his statements with cusswords and jokes about having several mistresses.

“I apologize for the things that I have said,” he said. “I hope you understand. That’s really how I am.”


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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