BTC Task Force on Religious Sector consults Ulama on Justice System

Some 68 Ulama and members of the Shari’a Supreme Court, MILF Central Committee (CC) had attended the first consultation-dialogue on Bangsamoro Justice System held on April 27, 2017 at the BTC Office, Cotabato City. 

The Task Force on religious sector organized by the BTC Chair Ghazali Jaafar aims to consult with the Ulama groups on some contentious issues on Bangsamoro Shari’a Justice System based on their experience and expertise in Islamic law.

Commissioner Ibrahim Ali gave an overview of both present and previous situation in the Bangsamoro Transition Commission. He cited the significant gains of the peace process after the signing of the Ten (10) point declarations of principles on April 27, 2012 and followed by the signing of the FAB and CAB. 

MILF Peace Implementing panel chair and Commissioner Mohaguel Iqbal expressed his disgust on the failed passage of the BBL that took 19 long years peace process. In fact, the government has designated at least 13 peace panel Chairman. 

Iqbal expressed his sentiments that both parties had already signed 200 documents and two (2) of which, the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) were the key documents that can solve the Bangsamoro Issue. Iqbal said. 

Iqbal categorically asked why the BBL failed to pass in 16th Philippine Congress despite the fact that all contentious issues in the BBL were already resolved and scheduled for signing in December 2014? 

He further explained that BBL was submitted to the Office of the President legal division on the last portion of Aquino administration at a time he (Pres. Aquino) could no longer control his cabinet and the Congress.

Unfortunately, the Mamasapano incident on January 25, 2015 aggravated the situation and invited public attention particularly the House of Representatives and the Senate.

It can be an intentional or unintentional, But one thing for sure, it was a well-planned to sabotage the BBL in Congress. 

And we are now in the process to reconstitute the BBL with the participation of three (3) MNLF Council of  15 members under the leadership of Yusof Jikiri . Iqbal also clarified the issue on why MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim and 2nd Vice Chair Aleem Solaiman are not there in the BTC. Because many explanations,  it remains a question.. He also explained on his side why he was not reappointed as BTC chairman.

Task Force on Religious Sector Chair Hisham Nando in coordination with the Secretariat on Committee on Justice and Security presented the contentious issues or amendments in Article X, Bangsamoro Justice System. It adopted the term Judiciary system and subject for comments and suggestion base on their experiences and expertise in Islamic law. 

Uz. Salih Musa suggested that instead of Bangsamoro Judiciary System, it should be changed to Bangsamoro Legal System. Musa further supported his suggestion based on his observation and experience as it is acceptable in Saudi Arabia legal system.   

Sheik Khalifa Nando, Chief Justice, Shari’a Supreme Court of MILF,CC expressed his concern and apprehensions on the amended version of Art. X, Bangsamoro Judiciary System that violates the entire context of the BBL and the principles of the Philippines three (3) branches namely, Executive, Judiciary and Legislative. 

It will invite the opposition to file objection and prolong the smooth passage of the BBL in 17th Philippine Congress, Nando stressed. 

Consensus point and recommendation

After the presentation and discussion on Sharia Justice System under Article X, the Bangsamoro Justice System and Section IX of Article X, the participants came up with consensus point and recommendation to the BTC Committee on Justice and Security Chaired by Commissioner Atty. Firdauzi Abbas to take note on the following;  

To propose new version of Article IX that those MILF Shari’a Supreme Court members, graduated from four year Shari’a or Islamic Jurisprudence, not less than 35 years in service, regardless of age shall be qualified as Bangsamoro Shari’a Judge. 

Secondly, those to be appointed as Shari’a Judges in the Bangsamoro shall be a Muslim Filipino, passers of Shari’a examination and a graduate of four year Shari’a or Islamic Jurisprudence to ensure the sanctity of Islamic law and protected in decision making. 

Finally, the original version of Article X, Bangsamoro Justice System be adopted and approved.   Other issues or propose revisions of the 21 Sections of Article X, shall let it be. Otherwise, we let the parliament to tackle down any necessary amendments or revisions once the Bangsamoro government has established

The consultation and dialogue was organized by BTC Task Force on religious group chaired by Hisham Nando in close coordination with the Secretariat on Committee on Justice and Security to shade light on the contentious issues o Shari’a Justice System.