Mindanao execs file TRO petition vs ‘ancestral’ pact


By Mike Frialde
Wednesday, July 30, 2008

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Gov. Jesus Sacdalan and Vice Gov. Emmanuel Piñol of Cotabato province asked the Supreme Court yesterday to stop the government from signing an agreement on Aug. 5 granting more territory to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

At Malacañang, Press Secretary Jesus Dureza said unless the SC issues a restraining order, the signing of the agreement would push through.

“Unless there is a restraining order by SC then the normal course of events as set would push through,” he said.

A plebiscite will be held on the ancestral domain agreement so the people would be directly consulted, Dureza said.

In Congress, Pangasinan Rep. Arthur Celeste, House of Representatives committee on national defense and security chairman, said they will study thoroughly any bill that would seek to formalize the agreement with the MILF.

“In support of President Arroyo’s call that a just and lasting peace be signed between the government and the MILF before her term ends, we in Congress are ready to scrutinize and support any legislation that would be filed in relation to the Agreement,” he said.

“I have instructed the committee secretariat to be ready to expedite any measure that would be filed to legalize the GRP-MILF Peace Agreement.”

In Cotabato, a 12-man Army platoon is holding out against a superior MILF force without food and water.

A military field commander said MILF rebels have surrounded a military detachment of the 40th Infantry Battalion in Barangay Dongo, Aleosan town.

“There’s no way to resupply them,” said the commander, who asked not to be named because he is not allowed to speak to the media.

“All the MSRs (main supply routes) are now controlled by the MILF.”

The military officer said ground commanders are ready to take action but are awaiting orders from the high command so the peace talks with the MILF would not be affected.

“Our hands are tied by the peace talks,” the military commander said. “But we cannot just go on like this.”

Inspector Orlando Panzo, Aleosan police chief, has appealed for military intervention because his 23-member police force could not defend the town from an attacking force of 500 MILF rebels.

In a 31-page petition, Sacdalan and Piñol said the government must be compelled to disclose the terms of the agreement.

Named respondents in the petition are members of the government peace panel Secretary Rodolfo Garcia, lawyers Leah Armamento, Sedfrey Candelaria and Mark Ryan Sullivan, and retired Gen. Hermogenes Esperon Jr., presidential adviser on the peace process.

Sacdalan and Piñol said it was reported that under the agreement, Cotabato province will be included in the planned Bangsamoro Juridical Entity.

“In other words, respondents’ actions to incorporate the province of Cotabato in the plebiscite were made by the so-called peace negotiators without the benefit of information dissemination or consultation with the leaders and the people of the province,” read the petition.

Sacdalan and Piñol said they have also received reports that a plebiscite would be conducted six months after the signing of the agreement to determine the areas to be added to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

“Such inclusion was unilaterally advocated by respondents without effective and massive consultation with the people of the province, the same people who would directly stand to be benefited or prejudiced by the inclusion,” read the petition.

Sacdalan and Piñol said reports that Cotabato will be included in an expanded ARMM had caused alarm among residents.

“The alleged powers and authority granted to the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity is almost tantamount to becoming an independent state,” read the petition.

Reports from newsbreak.com said that the government has agreed to recognize the Bangsamoro people as “distinct from the rest of the national communities”; grant them their own “distinct territory” and their “own government”; and concede international recognition to the Bangsamoro people.

Reports also said the agreement defines the Bangsamoro people as “those who are natives or original inhabitants of Mindanao and its adjacent islands, including Palawan and the Sulu archipelago at the time of conquest or colonization, and their descendants whether mixed or of full native blood.”

Spouses and descendants, including the Lumads, are also classified as Bangsamoro “unless they choose otherwise,” newsbreak.com reported, quoting the agreement.

Reports said the Bangsamoro territory will be composed of the present ARMM, the municipalities of Baloi, Munai, Nunungan, Pantar, Tagoloan, and Tangkal in Lanao del Norte, and additional areas in the provinces of Sultan Kudarat, Lanao del Norte, and North Cotabato, are “subject to a plebiscite.”

The Bangsamoro homeland will not be within the jurisdiction of the Philippine government and will be governed by the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity, reports said.

Zamboanga fears Bangsamoro entity

Zamboanga City Mayor Celso Lobregat has expressed fear over reliable information he has received that some eight barangays in his city are among the 712 barangays to be included in the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity.

“This is alarming,” he said.

“We are very alarmed because we have consulted the government panels on many occasions and expressed our firm stand that not a single area of the city have expressed (interest) to be part of the ancestral domain.”

Lobregat said they have informed chief government peace negotiator Rodolfo Garcia and Dureza, then presidential adviser on the peace process, of the city’s firm stand in the previous years.

“The government panel knew the city residents’ stand and we have opted out twice in past referendums,” he said.

Zamboanga City will take legal action to prevent its inclusion in the planned MILF ancestral domain, Lobregat said.

Zamboanga City Rep. Maria Isabel Climaco said the government has sold out Mindanao to the MILF.

Muslim lawmakers at the House of Representatives do not favor the inclusion of their areas in the Bangsamoro entity, she added.

The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process must make public the agreement on ancestral domain, Climaco said.

Four killed, one snatched in Lanao Sur

In Lanao del Sur, suspected Moro rebels killed four people and snatched a fifth passenger from a van traveling on the Secretary Narciso Ramos Highway yesterday.

Killed were Larry Revina, 29; Elisique Taniola, 32; Silverino Sillote, 35; and an unidentified passenger, who were reportedly residents of Pagadian City.

Police are searching for the fifth passenger, a certain Manuel de la Cruz, 40, whom the gunmen took with them.

Superintendent Danilo Bacas, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao police spokesman, said the gunmen in combat fatigues flagged down the Pagadian City-bound van in Malabang town and took the five Cebuano-speaking Christians at gunpoint.

The gunmen commandeered the van, after robbing the non-Christian passengers of their valuables, he added.

Bacas said the bodies of the four passengers were found on a roadside cliff in Calanogas town, also in Lanao del Sur.

Calanogas is a known MILF stronghold, he added.

They had bullet wounds and powder burns on their heads, indicating they were shot at close range, he added. – With Paolo Romero, Delon Porcalla, Jaime Laude, John Unson, Roel Pareño(PStar)

2 Responses to “Mindanao execs file TRO petition vs ‘ancestral’ pact”

  1. Jericho 941 Says:

    HAHAY>>>>>>iwan ko ba parang bininta tayo ng gobyerno ….dapat hindi ituloy yang mga claim nila…

  2. jezza Says:

    we cannot simply ask for peace from MILF because inthe first place, they live at war and the term “peace” is Ambiguous for them. war is thier only strategy to bring out thier request and cruel demands. Luck are those Muslims who live in the guidance and blessings of ALLA. fuck are those MILF!

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