Bayan says MOA-AD is a ploy to extend Arroyo’s term

Dec. 15, 2008

The militant Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) fears the government has not entirely given up on the controversial memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain (MOA-AD), which the group sees as a ploy to change the Constitution to extend the term of the President.

Malacaang lawyers to the Supreme Court (SC) ruling indicates that the government is still planning to pursue the controversial MOA-AD. Bayan believes the MOA-AD will pave the way for constitutional amendments that will extend Arroyo’s term.

The SC ruled as unconstitutional the MOA-AD that would have given the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) authority over territories included in the proposed Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE), which covers a wider territory and an expanded administrative capacity in the present Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)

Solicitor General Agnes Devanadera filed a manifestation, protesting what she referred to as “a transgression of the doctrine of separation of powers” between the nation’s judicial and executive bodies. Devanadera feared that the Supreme Court decision foreshadowed “a future trend” of the Court’s interference in “areas exclusive to the other branches of the government.”

Devanadera urged the High Court to dismiss the case filed by local officials in Mindanao questioning the MOA-AD just two weeks after the botched August 5 signing in Kuala Lumpur. The solicitor-general later formally urged the Supreme Court to dismiss this case as moot and academic.

Reyes said this move proved that the administration really wants to push through with the MOA-AD. With time running out until 2010, Arroyo cannot afford to lose options to stay in power, said Reyes. Even though she had majority of the members of the House of Representatives, she would still have the Senate to contend with, many of them eyeing for the Presidential elections in 2010 would waylay any of her moves to stay in power.

Militant partylist representatives Satur Ocampo and Teodoro Casio (Bayan Muna), and Liza Maza (Gabriela Women’s Party) said the SC ruling should not invalidate issue of ancestral domain of the Bangsamoro.

Reyes said Bayan respected the Bangsamoro people’s right to self determination but the proposed signing of the MOA-AD came at the time when the administration is pushing for changes in the Constitution to stay in power. (CJ Cuizon/

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