Thursday, August 07, 2008

MILF ULTIMATUM AND THREAT AGAINST THE PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT IS A REVELATION OF THE MILF’S ATTITUDE TOWARDS RULE OF LAW AND ORDER OF CIVILIZED NATIONS

The MILF’s ultimatum against the Philippine Government to “choose between Vice Governor Piñol and the MILF” and the demand for the Supreme Court to lift the Temporary Restraining Order “or else it will mean the death of the peace talks” is a revelation of the rebel group’s attitude towards the rule of law and principles of democratic processes and institutions.

The MILF should understand that under a democracy, there is the principle of separation of powers between the national and local governments and between the executive, legislative and the judiciary. The GRP panel should not be made to choose between the MILF and Vice Gov. Piñol because the vice-governor was acting within his scope of authority and responsibility in expressing his disagreement to the inclusion of some parts of his province in the GRP-MILF MOA. He simply availed of his constitutional right to avail of a constitutional process for redress.

For the MILF to issue a demand on the Supreme Court, with an impossible time frame to comply within one day, is an act of contempt against democracy. Assuming that the time frame was reasonable, it is still contemptuous to make demands on the Supreme Court. The High Tribunal already set oral arguments for the petition on August 15. The best act of good faith on the parties concerned is to allow the judicial process to proceed on its own.

The aborted signing of the MOA due to the TRO issued by the Supreme Court is not a diplomatic embarrassment as the MILF and Gen. Esperon of the GRP peace panel claimed. US Ambassador Kristie Kenney said it accurately that it is actually something to be proud of since we showed the world that democracy is practiced faithfully in our country. It is a pity that Gen. Esperon, who served in the Armed Forces of the Philippines and claims to be a staunch defender of the Constitution failed to see this perspective.

This statement of the MILF only shows that they have no regard for the Constitution and democracy. What can the people of Mindanao expect if they are already the ones in power over the areas stipulated in the MOA on Ancestral Domain? Actually, there is no guarantee under the language of the MOA that the system of democracy exercised in the Philippines will be the same system to be implemented under the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE).

Under the MOA, the BJE “shall be empowered to build, develop and maintain its own institutions, inclusive of, civil service, electoral, financial and banking, education, legislation, legal, economic, and police and internal security force, judicial system and correctional institutions”. If they disagree and do not subscribe to the current democratic system practiced by the Republic of the Philippines (as evidenced by their attitude towards the current situation faced by the GRP panel), how likely will it be that they will practice the same when the BJE assumes power?

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