Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Supreme Court Promulgates North Cotabato Versus Republic of the Philippines

The Supreme Court Website has just posted G.R. No. 183591 THE PROVINCE OF NORTH COTABATO, duly represented by GOVERNOR JESUS SACDALAN and/or VICE-GOVERNOR EMMANUEL PIÑOL, for and in his own behalf, Petitioners, - versus - GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES PEACE PANEL ON ANCESTRAL DOMAIN (GRP).

Contrary then to the asseverations of respondents, the non-signing of the MOA-AD and the eventual dissolution of the GRP Peace Panel did not moot the present petitions. It bears emphasis that the signing of the MOA-AD did not push through due to the Court’s issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order.

Contrary too to respondents’ position, the MOA-AD cannot be considered a mere “list of consensus points,” especially given its nomenclature, the need to have it signed or initialed by all the parties concerned on August 5, 2008, and the far-reaching Constitutional implications of these “consensus points,” foremost of which is the creation of the BJE.

In fact, as what will, in the main, be discussed, there is a commitment on the part of respondents to amend and effect necessary changes to the existing legal framework for certain provisions of the MOA-AD to take effect. Consequently, the present petitions are not confined to the terms and provisions of the MOA-AD, but to other on-going and future negotiations and agreements necessary for its realization. The petitions have not, therefore, been rendered moot and academic simply by the public disclosure of the MOA-AD,[102] the manifestation that it will not be signed as well as the disbanding of the GRP Panel not withstanding.

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