Quote for the Week..

"Why are the country’s political leaders quick to act on amending the Constitution to change nationalistic provisions for the benefit of foreigners or to extend their terms of office but are allergic to amending the Constitution to address the people’s aspirations for self-determination?" - Marvic Leonen,Dean of the UP College of Law, in a keynote address delivered at the 1st International Solidarity Conference on Mindanao; March 16-18, 2009 in Davao City, Philippines.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Shariff Kabunsuan govt employees ask SC to reverse ruling

Employees of the Shariff Kabunsuan provincial government have passed a manifesto asking the Supreme Court (SC) to reverse its July 16 decision declaring the power to create provinces and cities of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao’s (ARMM) law-making body unconstitutional.

Members of the Shariff Kabunsuan Provincial Employees Association (SKAPEA) feared they will lose their jobs if the high court decision becomes final and executory.

Records show that the provincial government has 490 regular employees and 250 contractual and casual employees.

In the manifesto, SKAPEA described SC's decision as a “drawback to regional autonomy and even graver to the aspiration of the Bangsamoro to draw their own lives in a truly autonomous and meaningful existence.”

Lawyer Suharto Ibay, provincial administrator, lamented that the employees were not part of the legal squabble but they were the ones suffering from the high court decision.

He added that the people of Shariff Kabunsuan were not even given a chance to air their side on the issue.

Last Friday SKAPEA members went to the office of Bai Sandra Sema, chair of Cotabato City Tourism Council, and urged the official to file a motion for reconsideration before the high court before the 15-day deadline for filing an appeal expires.

Ibay said SKAPEA is planning to lodge a motion to intervene before the high court.

On Aug. 28, 2006, the Regional Legislative Assembly (RLA) enacted Muslim Mindanao Autonomy Act (MMAA) 201 creating the province of Shariff Kabunsuan.

The SC ruling, however, declared MMAA 201 void, saying that only Congress can create or reapportion a legislative district.

The case stemmed from the consolidated petitions seeking to annul Resolution No. 7902 of the Commission on Elections treating Cotabato City, which is included in Region XII, as part of the legislative district of Shariff Kabunsuan. The resolution was issued in May 2007.

Sema, a congressional candidate during May 2007 polls, was one of the petitioners of the case.

Shariff Kabunsuan was created by separating eight municipalities from the first district of Maguindanao. Cotabato City forms part of Maguindanao’s first legislative district but it voted against its inclusion in the ARMM in the plebiscite held in November 1989.

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