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Rj C.

Farias 1-Q

February 16, 2011

Province of North Cotabato v. Government of the Republic of the Philippines (G.R. Nos. 183591, 183752, 183893, 183951, & 183962) (14 October 2008) Facts: On 8 August 2008, the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP), represented by the GRP Peace Panel and the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (PAPP), and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) were scheduled to sign the Memorandum of Agreement on the Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) Aspect of the previous GRP-MILF Tripoli Agreement on Peace of 2001 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The MOA-AD included, among others, a stipulation that creates the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE), to which the GRP grants the authority and jurisdiction over the ancestral domain and ancestral lands of the Bangsamorodefined as the present geographic area of the ARMM constituted by Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Basilan, and Marawi City, as well as the municipalities of Lanao del Norte which voted for inclusion in the ARMM in the 2001 plebiscite. The BJE is then granted the power to build, develop, and maintain its own institutions. The MOA-AD also described the relationship of the GRP and the BJE as associative, characterized by shared authority and responsibility. It further provides that its provisions requiring amendments to the existing legal framework shall take effect upon signing of a Comprehensive Compact. Issues: 1. W/N the President has the power to pursue reforms that would require new legislation and constitutional amendments. 2. W/N the GRP Peace Panel and the PAPP committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. 3. W/N the MOA-AD is constitutional. 4. W/N the GRP can invoke executive privilege. Ruling: 1. YES. However, the stipulation in the MOA-AD that virtually guarantees that necessary changes shall be effected upon the legal framework of the GRP must be struck down as unconstitutional as it is inconsistent with the limits of the Presidents authority to propose constitutional amendments. Because although the Presidents

Rj C. Farias 1-Q

February 16, 2011

power to conduct peace negotiations is implicitly included in her powers as Chief Executive and Commander-in-Chief, and, in the course of conducting peace negotiations, may validly consider implementing even those policies that require changes to the Constitution, she may not unilaterally implement them without the intervention of Congress, or act in any way as if the assent of that body were assumed as a certainty. 2. YES. The PAPP committed grave abuse of discretion when he failed to carry out the pertinent consultation process, as mandated by EO No. 3, RA No. 7160, and RA No. 8371. The furtive process by which the MOA-AD was designed and crafted runs contrary to and in excess of the legal authority, and amounts to a whimsical, capricious, oppressive, arbitrary, and despotic exercise thereof. It illustrates a gross evasion of positive duty and a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined. 3. NO. It cannot be reconciled with the present Constitution and laws. Not only its specific provisions, but the very concept underlying them, namely, the associative relationship envisioned between the GRP and the BJE, are unconstitutional, for the concept presupposes that the associated entity is a state and implies that the same is on its way to independence. While there is a clause in the MOA-AD stating that the provisions thereof inconsistent with the present legal framework will not be effective until that framework is amended, the same does not cure its defect. The inclusion of provisions in the MOA-AD establishing an associative relationship between the BJE and the Central Government is, itself, a violation of the Memorandum of Instructions From The President addressed to the government peace panel. Moreover, as the clause is worded, it virtually guarantees that the necessary amendments to the Constitution and the laws will eventually be put in place. Neither the GRP Peace Panel nor the President herself is authorized to make such a guarantee. Upholding such an act would amount to authorizing a usurpation of the constituent powers vested only in Congress, a Constitutional Convention, or the people themselves through the process of initiative, for the only way that the Executive can ensure the outcome of the amendment process is through an undue influence or interference with that process. 4. NO. Respondents effectively waived such defense after it unconditionally disclosed the official copies of the final draft of the MOA-AD, for judicial compliance and public scrutiny.