By Vann Marlo M. Villegas
SUPPORTERS of the Bangsomoro Organic Law (BOL) asked the Supreme Court (SC) on Monday to dismiss the petition late last year by Sulu Gov. Abdusakur A. Tan II against the law.
In a petition-in-intervention filed on Jan. 7 by Presidential Anti-Corruption Commissioner Manuelito R. Luna, former Commission on Human Rights commissioner Nasser A. Marohomsalic, and The Philippine Association of Islamic Accountants, Inc., represented by its President Amanoding D. Esmail, they said that the Constitution does not limit Congress from passing legislation strengthening or abolishing the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
They said that Article X, Sections 18 and 19 of the 1987 Constitution mandated the first Congress elected under the Constitution to enact organic laws for the autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and the Cordilleras.
“Petitioner overreach(es) in opining that the constitutional provisions delimit the legislative power of Congress; it is reading something into provisions,” they stated, adding that the Constitution only provided the process on the passage of organic acts.
The petitioners also claimed that the parliamentary government under the BOL will not violate the “constitutional principle of separation of power and check and balance.”
“There is no definitive provision in the Constitution that says that the autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao should not be parliamentary. All that the Constitution requires is that the Philippines is a democratic and republican State.”
They also claimed Mr. Tan lacked legal standing in filing his petition.
“Indeed. It is our submission that Petitioner has not shown any personal and material interest that will be prejudiced or affected adversely where the BOL is implemented. Lacking legal standing, Petitioner recourse the Supreme Court by way of petition assailing particularly the constitutionality of the Bangsamoro Organic Law must therefore fail,” they said.
Mr. Tan in October asked the SC to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) and/or writ of preliminary injunction against the implementation of the BOL due to constitutional issues, claiming that the abolition of the ARMM is only through the amendment of the Constitution.
He also claimed that the parliamentary form of government in the BOL violates the separation of powers as it “fused” the power of the executive and legislative branch of government.
A plebiscite will be held on Jan. 21 and Feb. 6 for the ratification of BOL. If approved, it will serve to abolish ARMM and form the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
Under the parliamentary government of the BOL, registered voters in the region will elect members of the Bangsamoro Parliament, which is the legislative arm. The parliament will elect the Chief Minister of the Bangsamoro Government.
A second petition seeking a TRO against the BOL was also filed by the Philippine Constitution Association over questions on constitutionality.
By Vann Marlo M. Villegas