A fundamental question re the framework agreement on Bangsamoro

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It is extremely difficult to appraise the proposed “2012 Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro.” Allow me to raise what I view is simply fundamental: Whether the agreement is subject to the provisions of the Constitution. There is only one reference to the Constitution in this agreement, and that is in Par. VII (4) (b) which provides that among the functions of the Transition Commission shall be, as follows:

“b. To work on proposals to amend the Philippine Constitution for the purpose of accommodating and entrenching in the constitution the agreements of the Parties whenever necessary without derogating from any prior peace agreements.”

But while it seems implicit that the agreement is subject to the provisions of the Constitution, the question that arises is whether when the agreement is executed in behalf of the Philippine government, the government becomes bound to have the Constitution amended to accommodate “the agreement of the parties whenever necessary…” or that in the event the Constitution is not amended as may be necessary (such as because of the non-ratification of the proposed amendments in a plebiscite called for the purpose), the government or the Republic itself will be deemed to have violated the agreement.

Parenthetically, Par. I (4) provides, as follows:

4. The relationship of the Central Government with the Bangsamoro Government shall be asymmetric.

The word “asymmetric” is hardly understandable. It is not a legal term and the dictionary definition simply says:

“asym•met•ri•cal — lack of proportion, ill-proportioned, not symmetrical.”

I do not really wish to express any view on this agreement but considering the importance of the agreement not only to the people of Mindanao or to those directly affected but to the entire country, there has been a deafening silence on the agreement.—ESTELITO P. MENDOZA,

emram@globelines.com.ph

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December 18, 2014

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