Palace gives up on controversial MoA ahead of SC decision

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — THE government is giving up on the controversial Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Press Secretary Jesus Dureza and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Sergio Apostol, Jr. yesterday confirmed the statement of Solicitor General Agnes Devanadera during the oral arguments on the MoA before the Supreme Court that the government would no longer sign the MoA even if the Supreme Court upholds its legality.

“No matter what the Supreme Court will ultimately decide, the government will not sign the MoA in view of recent developments,” Dureza said, referring to the attacks on civilian communities by the MILF.

At the resumption of the Supreme Court hearing yesterday, Devanadera said the government has decided that it will no longer pursue the draft agreement.

Instead of the MoA, Dureza said the government would refocus its efforts by pushing the peace process in the context of disarmament, demobilization and rehabilitation.

Apostol added that at the outset, the MoA is an “invalid document” because the members of the government peace panel “were not given full authority to sign the document.”

“They were given authority to negotiate but not full authority to sign (the document),” he said.

But Apostol said the government negotiators could not be held liable for any irregularity since the signing of the MoA between the government and MILF did not push through. The Supreme Court stopped the signing of the agreement set last August 5 in Putrajaya , Malaysia .

“Kung nagka-pirmahan may kasalanan sila, but ang sabi natin kung nagka-pirmahan,” he said.