Press Release
February 17, 2010

The President does not have the power to "enhance the powers and functions of the ARMM through executive action"

Senator Rodolfo G Biazon today said the deferment of the resumption of the peace talks between the government and the MILF is just right.

"If commitments are made by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo that will require the more substantive agreement with the next Administration and the 15th Congress, the possibility of this commitment not being delivered is very great, " the Chairman of the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security cautioned.

Biazon cited that of particular concern is the demand by the MILF for the creation of a federal state. " This may not be in accordance with the Constitution as indicated by the Supreme Court ruling declaring that the MOA on ancestral domain is unconstitutional."

"The MOA-AD is practically proposing the forming of a federal state of the ARMM especially in the "ENHANCING THE POWERS AND FUNCIONS OF THE BANGSA MORO JUDICIAL ENTITY".

"I am worried about the statement of Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Ms. Annabelle Abaya that it is within the powers of the Executive to enhance the powers and functions of the government of the ARMM."

Biazon explained, "In the definition of the powers and functions to be assigned to any government entity, it definitely requires legislation, and this legislative response by Congress is well within the provisions of the Constitution."

Biazon warned, "The offer by Ms. Annabelle Abaya that the President can enhance the powers and functions of this Autonomous Muslim Judicial entity may not be delivered by the next Congress for it will require Congress to grant what Ms. Abaya is now offering to the MILF."

"Abdul Razak, a Malaysian continuous to be the focus of attention in this peace process. I am reiterating my previous position that we can not have Malaysia to perform the third party role because of conflicts of interest between the government of the Philippines and Malaysia regarding the Sabah question which remains unsolved and conflicting claims of the two countries on certain areas of the Spratlys."

Biazon concluded, " I reiterate my position that is is better for the two sides - the government of the Republic of the Philippines and the MILF to discuss the peace process without a 3rd party participation. But if a 3rd party is required, both must look for a more impartial entity to provide the role such as Indonesia."

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