Press Release
August 6, 2008

"Peace pact could bring division instead of harmony"

Senate Majority Leader and independent Senator Kiko Pangilinan today warned of possible constitutional ramifications of the controversial memorandum of agreement between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and cautioned that the said agreement could bring further division instead of harmony.

"The GRP-MILF peace pact is highly suspect as it raises so many legal and constitutional questions which will not only divide the people but also test our democratic processes," Kiko said.

"One, it grants the Bangsamoro the basic elements of the State--government, people, territory and belligerency, which leads to international recognition. This is dangerous and unconstitutional, as only the Philippines as a duly recognized nation must possess such components. Moreover, the government surrenders its authority over exploitation of natural resources because the Bangsamoro territory will no longer form part of the national domain," Kiko added.

"The peace pact operated under the notion that the country is gearing towards federalism. But the implementation of the ancestral domain agreement will still be subject to a plebiscite in the affected area. The additional barangays in the Bangsamoro would have to be approved through a plebiscite that would be implemented once Congress passes an enabling law. Suppose Congress would not yield to this, and the MOA were signed, we would be facing a serious constitutional crisis," Kiko added.

"With all these legal incongruities and the upheaval from the local level that this pact lacks proper consultations with affected stakeholder, we are led to wonder, what's in it for the government? Was this peace pact deliberated on properly, and does the end justify the means? The administration needs to explain this to the public, lest we compromise once more no less than our Constitution," Kiko ended.

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