COTABATO CITY – Chief Minister Ahod (Murad) Ebrahim, of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), said he was elated by the support of influential Sulu Governor Sakur Tan, who recently met with him together with his mayors.
“I’m very happy that the incoming Sulu governor expressed his willingness to cooperate and be a partner of the Bangsamoro government,” Ebrahim said.
Ebrahim cited the importance of unity and collaboration among local officials to meet the high expectations of the people on the newly-established region.
Tan said he and his municipal mayors were also happy to meet with Ebrahim and threw their support to the BARMM.
Tan was among those who questioned the constitutionality of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) that abolish the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao for BARMM. His son, Toto Tan, then governor of Sulu, filed a petition with the Supreme Court to review the legality and constitutionality of the BOL. The proposed law was the result of peace negotiations between the Filipino government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels headed by Ebrahim.
The respondents in the 48-page petition were Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Interior and Local Government Officer-in-Charge Eduardo Año, members of the Senate and the House of Representatives, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza and the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, and the MILF.
In the petition, Tan claimed that Congress committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it passed the Bangsamoro Organic Law. He said the Bangsamoro Organic Law violates Section 18 and 19 of Article X of the 1987 Constitution which authorized the enactment of only one Organic Act to establish the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
“Since ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) is created by Constitutional fiat, Congress, by itself, has absolutely no authority to abolish ARMM. Only through an amendment of the Constitution may ARMM be abolished. This is so, because only the Constitution may create or abolish an autonomous region,” he said.
“Accordingly, when Congress, by enacting RA 11054, effectively abolished ARMM, and established BAR (Bangsamoro Autonomous Region) in its stead, Congress committed an unconstitutional act, an unwarranted infringement of Article X of the Constitution,” he added.
The MILF, which signed an interim peace deal with Manila in 2014, said it recognizes Tan’s rights to file the petition. But Muslims in Mindanao have ratified the BOL that paved way for the establishment of BARMM. BARMM is headed by a chief minister and two deputy ministers.
Its parliament will be composed of political party representatives, parliamentary district representatives, sectoral representatives and indigenous tribes and settler communities. All parliament members will have a term of three years and can enjoy a maximum of three consecutive terms.
The parliament can enact its own laws. The BOL also allows 75-25 wealth sharing between the Bangsamoro autonomous region and national government. And now, the Tan patriarch – also a staunch political ally of President Rodrigo Duterte – said: “Since it (BARMM) is already here, it is not right for us not to support it because we will suffer. We cannot afford to suffer for the next three years, six years or nine years,” Tan said. (Mindanao Examiner and Zamboanga Post. With additional report from Taher Solaiman.)
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