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May 25th
Home Columns Sen. Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. Flawed Accord Could Aggravate Conflict Instead of Bringing About Peace
Flawed Accord Could Aggravate Conflict Instead of Bringing About Peace PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - This Week With Nene Pimentel
Tuesday, 05 August 2008 23:17

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today warned that the political conflict in Mindanao is bound to get worse if the Arroyo government will insist on concluding a peace agreement with the Muslim rebels that does not conform with the Constitution and without consultation with Congress as the State’s policy making arm and the people in the affected areas.


He said the (Arroyo) government “cannot cede away any part of the national territory without transparency and if it is not in accordance with the Constitution.”


Senator Pimentel advised the government to review the agreement on ancestral domain it has negotiated with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and possibly renegotiate certain terms and provisions that are deemed unconstitutional and patently flawed following the issuance of a temporary restraining order by the Supreme Court.


The (Arroyo) government “cannot cede away any part of the national territory without transparency and if it is not in accordance with the Constitution.”

“I think the government is engaged in what I call political estafa. It is trying to fool not only the Moro people of Mindanao but also the people of the Philippines into believing that peace is at hand,” he said.


“On the contrary, by engaging in doublespeak, this government is pouring gasoline into the fire that is lighting up parts of Mindanao. I expect more troubles ahead.”


Senator Pimentel said the MILF has been led into believing that they can expect an expanded Moro homeland “as if by signing that agreement, that will immediately come into play.”


“And I think that is not going to happen. They forgot that we are no longer under martial law, and, therefore, the processes under the Constitution will have to apply,” the senator from Mindanao said.


“And I think they are putting the cart before the horse by going ahead with the so-called signing without involving the policy-making arm of the government, which is Congress.”


Senator Pimentel also debunked the claim of the MILF, through vice chairman for political affairs Ghadzali Jaafar, that the agreement on ancestral domain is already a “done deal” after it was initialed by both sides last July 27.


“This is where I can say that can really trigger a lot of problems because they have led the MILF to believe that it is. I would like to say they are being taken for a ride,” he said.


Senator Pimentel criticized Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Hermogenes Esperon, former armed forces chief, over his public statement that the net effect of the new accord between the government and MILF “is to create a state within a state.”


“I am not too sure what the general is talking about. He probably knows better dealing with forced disappearances and extra-judicial killings. I don’t think he has the expertise to articulate political negotiation.”


Mr. Pimentel also cautioned the government against making pronouncements on the holding of plebiscite for the inclusion of more than 700 barangays in seven provinces in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.


“That is exactly where the danger lies. They are making the people believe that everything is set for the plebiscite. The plebiscite cannot be done by themselves. It has to be framed out by law,” he said. # # #


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Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 August 2008 23:19

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