Bangsamoro Organic Law plebiscite can proceed — Supreme Court

January 08, 2019

THE plebiscite for the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) may proceed on January 21 since petitions for a restraining order have yet to be decided by the Supreme Court.

In a press briefing, SC spokesman and Court Administrator Midas Marquez said the SC deliberated on the petitions of the Sulu provincial government led by Gov. Abdusakur Tan II and the Philippine Constitutional Association (Philconsa).

But the high tribunal has not ruled yet on their prayer for issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) or writ of preliminary injunction.

“The Comelec has scheduled the plebiscite on the 21st, since there is no TRO, as of the moment, then that plebiscite should proceed or can proceed,” Marquez told reporters.

The other day, a group composed of the Philippine Association of Islamic Accountants (PAIA) and Commissioner Manuelito Luna of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) sought intervention in the case and opposed the petitions.

Lawyer Algamar Latiph also filed an intervention in the case and supported the legality of the BOL.

Latiph, an intervenor in an earlier case involving the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain representing the Muslim Legal Assistance Foundation, likewise sought the dismissal of the petitions and supported the constitutionality of the assailed law.

The BOL expands the ARMM -- currently composed of Sulu, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Tawi-Tawi and Basilan (except Isabela City) -- to include six towns of Lanao del Norte and 39 barangays of Cotabato, and the chartered cities of Isabela and Cotabato subject to the approval of voters.

The Commission on Elections has set the plebiscite on January 21 for the ratification of the BOL.