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Why doesn’t CA resolve confusion in Makati?

/ 12:11 AM March 25, 2015

What’s the matter with the Court of Appeals? Why does it not end the confusion over who is now mayor of Makati, quickly? Can’t the justices see that the people and business firms are suffering because they cannot transact business with the city government?

It is the CA justices’ fault in the first place. They were too slow in issuing the temporary restraining order on the suspension of Mayor Junjun Binay on graft charges. When they issued the TRO, it was hours after the suspension order had been served on Binay and Vice Mayor Romulo Peña had been sworn in as acting mayor. So Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said the TRO was moot as there was nothing to restrain anymore. The suspension order on Binay had been served and his successor sworn in. And Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales—whose opinion carries much weight as a former justice of the Supreme Court—said that under the law, suspension orders of the Ombudsman are immediately executory.

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So the CA should not prolong the confusion; it should clarify who is the legal mayor. I think a motion for clarification has been filed, so why does not the CA resolve the issue right away?

And meanwhile, Binay and Peña should talk and agree to a compromise, according to Sen. Francis Escudero and former Sen. Nene Pimentel, who were guests at the Kapihan sa Manila at Diamond Hotel last Monday. The two officials should act like civilized persons and resolve the confusion between themselves. It is their constituents who are suffering.

Escudero said Binay and Interior Secretary Mar Roxas should meet and resolve the matter because it was Roxas who had ordered Peña to take over as mayor.

Either one or both of them should seek a clarification from the CA instead of prolonging the standoff, Escudero said. He blamed both camps for being unyielding in their positions at the expense of the public. “They allowed their personal rivalry to affect a small disagreement which they can discuss how to resolve with minimal interference in the delivery of basic services to the people of Makati,” he said.

For his part, Pimentel said that while it is true that the law creating the Office of the Ombudsman provides that its suspension orders are immediately executory, it is against the legal principle that a defendant should be given enough time to contest any order against him. Which means he believes that the TRO, even if it is late, should take precedence over the suspension order.

On the various reports on the Mamasapano massacre, both Escudero and Pimentel said the reports of the Senate and the Philippine National Police board of inquiry were clear but the report of the Commission on Human Rights seems to put the blame on the 44 dead troopers of the PNP Special Action Force. And they questioned why the Moro Islamic Liberation Front is submitting its own report to Malaysia.

Pimentel said Malaysia should not be the broker in the peace talks between the Philippine government and the MILF, as it has an interest in the outcome of the process. He said Malaysia is coveting Sabah, which belongs to the Philippines, because it is believed to be rich in oil and natural gas. History and legal documents all show that Sabah was given to the Sultan of Sulu by the Sultan of Brunei in gratitude for his help in quelling a rebellion in Brunei. When the Federation of Malaysia was formed, Sabah was annexed to the federation.

The Philippines has taken the case to the United Nations but Malaysia refuses to participate, knowing the weakness of its position. Pimentel said the broker should not be Malaysia but Indonesia, because the latter has no interest in any part of the Philippines.

In another forum, he said that for years Malaysia has been providing arms to the Moro rebels of Mindanao. How can we trust a broker like that?

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Pimentel and Escudero also wondered why the Bangsamoro Basic Law gives the proposed autonomous region a parliamentary form of government when the national government has a presidential system. Clue: Because Malaysia has a parliamentary system. Observers fear that with the same system, it is only one step away for Bangsamoro’s parliament to decide to join the Malaysian federation.

Escudero and Pimentel also questioned why the BBL has totally disregarded the other residents of Mindanao—the lumad, Tausug, Badjao, Maranao as well as the Christians, who comprise the majority of Mindanaons. Pimentel said the Sultan of Sulu is also protesting the BBL’s inclusion of the Sulu Sea as part of the territory of Bangsamoro. The MILF is just a minority in Mindanao.

A recent survey by Pulse Asia showed that 48 percent of Mindanaons are against the BBL.

Escudero and Pimentel also said the government peace panel should be replaced as it seems to be working for the interest of the MILF and not the interest of the rest of the Filipino people. Come to think of it, most Filipinos no longer trust the government peace panel. So why is it representing the Philippine government?

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TAGS: Bangsamoro, Bangsamoro Basic Law, conchita carpio-morales, Court of Appeals, Francis Escudero, Junjun Binay, Leila de Lima, Mamasapano, Mar Roxas, Nene Pimentel, Romulo Peña, suspension
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