My Google Page Rank

Is ARMM a sectarian sub-state?


I would like to make it very explicit that the fundamental rationale for this article is not to question the existence of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. I just want to be very sure that what the First Congress of the Philippines responsible for the enactment of the Organic Act for this purpose did not violate the neutrality and impartiality of our Fundamental Law with respect to religion. Being a non-lawyer, I am not also certain about my understanding about the constitutional provision on the practice and establishment of religion in this country. So it is my expectation that the diverse reactions to this article may bring about the clarification or the crystallization of the constitutional provisions I am going to lay bare before the bar of public opinion.

In my solitary study of the l987 Philippine Constitution, I came across a provision which tacitly prohibits the establishment of religion or sectarian organization. However, the same provision also fully guarantees the free exercise of any religion and the practice of religious professions which I believe is a statutory element culled and imported from the American Constitution of l787, particularly its First Amendment. This, of course, is understandable since the United States was once our Mother Country.

To serve as our common frame for discussion, interaction, and analysis, let me quote in full the following constitutional provision under Article III (Bill of Rights), Section 5, to wit:

“No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious professions and worship without discrimination or preference shall forever be allowed. No religious tests shall be required for the exercise of civic or political rights.”

The constitutional provision which I personally believe contradicts or gets in conflict with the above-quoted legal stipulation is found in Article X, (Local Government), specifically Section l which states that:

“The territorial subdivisions of the Republic of the Philippines are provinces, cities, municipalities, and barangays. There should be autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and the Cordilleras as hereafter provided.”

Let me stress without malice that only the term “Muslim” is objectively treated as the main topic for our unbiased, non-judgmental and non-prejudicial academic discussion and only within the context of commonly understood and accepted definition. Based on its popular lexical definition, the term “Muslim” is generally known world-wide as a follower of Islam. In fact, the variant spelling of this is “Moslem.” If used as an adjective, it means “relating to Muslim or Islam”.

If we base our intellectual appreciation strictly on the lexical definition of the word “Muslim,” there’s a substantial amount of propensity for an ordinary man like me to make a conclusion that the framers of the l987 Philippine Constitution either knowingly or unknowingly embodied a provision in Article X, Section I, which mandated the preferential and discriminatory creation of an Autonomous Region in Mindanao exclusively for a group of inhabitants embracing the Muslim or Islam faith. This particular constitutional mandate to my small mind smacks of sectarian or class legislation. It is my honest personal opinion that the Organic Act creating the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao is in direct collision course with the doctrine of the “Separation of Church and States,” also embodied and enshrined in the l987 Constitution. I am mentioning the term Muslim or Moslem without any shade of intolerance or prejudice, for this is purely an academic discourse and solely for the general educational interest of our people without distinction as to religion or other forms of social classification. Our Constitution is supposed to be neutral, impartial, and non-bias religion-wise. 

Now another demand for a second Islamic sub-state has been articulated emphatically by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front which is viewed as a radical departure from the original aspiration of full independence from the Republic of the Philippines. While we all welcome this noble declaration of intention toward finding an ultimate solution to the decades old conflict in Mindanao and Sulu, I doubt if another sectarian sub-political entity would still be constitutionally bearable and acceptable to the other religious denominations. Granting that the present Congress will still be constitutionally benevolent enough to grant the establishment of another Islamic sub-state in Mindanao, what will prevent Pastor Quiboloy or Brother Edie Villanueva for demanding the establishment of sub-states for their respective religious followers? When this happens, I don’t think Congress could just unceremoniously ignore their political demands because of legislative precedence. Assuming that Congress will grant the demands of at least the dominant religious organizations to have their own sub-states for the sake of peace and fairness, then it is not too far-fetched for the Philippines to become a federation of micro-sectarian political entities, the first of its kind in the entire history of popular and representative democracy.     
I am afraid I must have taken the wrong cup of tea and drunk one too many. I hope a world-renowned constitutionalist will be kind enough to come to my rescue and administer the crystallizing antidote. Issues of legal nature are definitely and admittedly beyond my area of academic or professional competence. At most I am just expressing my doubts. Sorry, I must have drifted too far away into unknown scholastic territories.

By Clem M. Bascar

Related news items:
Newer news items:
Older news items:


-1 #1 munkarnnakheel 2010-10-18 19:17
to make things easy for you....try equating the current situation into a reversal equation...or check the cordillera autonomy.???
if quiboloy and eddie will ask for the same, they must be in indonesia, malaysia,or saudi arabia,where the religion in whole is "ISLAM"(MUSLIMS ).or i suggest they will create the cristian liberation front in mindanao???then wage a war first,like the MNLF and the MILF...
P-noy will consider it.
the MILF has all the RIGHT to SETTLE its SCORES...LONG LIVE MILF...

Add comment

Security code


20 Nov 2017 Hits:33 Be the first to comment!

Este si Erica Bataclan Martinez, su palayao “Ecang”, 17 años , 5’3” el altor,    Su mayores si Oscar B. Martinez y Lariza A. Bataclan Martinez, su hermano y hermana si Khate, Nilroy, Jovie, Rico y Sandara B. Martinez, sila ta esta na Barangay de Guiwan, Ciudad de Zamboanga .  Ya estudia elementaria na Guiwan Elementary School, secondaria na Zamboanga City High School main y ahora na grade 10 . Este su istoria … “ Ya principia yo na desportes de Wrestling na edad 10 año, aquel tiempo grade  6 yo. Mio uban maga amiga si Andrea y Shiena . Ya inspira conmigo mi familia y maga barkada y ya quiere yo aprende wrestling poreso masquin deficil el training , ya pricura [...] Read more

Prev Next Page:


19 Nov 2017 Hits:45 Be the first to comment!

Este si VICENTE EDUARDO S. TORRES, ta llama conele “Teng/Pardz/Boboy”, 62 años de edad , casao y su esposa si Esther Facultad Torres Y diila anak si Pompeyo F. Torres [...] Read more

AboitizPower sustains strong foothold in hydropower business

18 Nov 2017 Hits:110 Be the first to comment!

On the back of a strong demand for renewable energy (RE), AboitizPower continues to ramp up its portfolio of generation facilities across the Philippines. AboitizPower's subsidiary, SN AboitizPower, has completed the [...] Read more


18 Nov 2017 Hits:62 Be the first to comment!

Del Nov. 12, 2017 Domingo el Segundo semana de Season long Zamboanga Football league. El primer juego tan feature cun Resto del Mundo contra  Zamboanga United . Ta pricura man [...] Read more

Police shift war on drugs to anti-gun-for-hire drive

17 Nov 2017 Hits:77 Be the first to comment!

Police regional director and vice chair of the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) for Western Mindanao Chief Supt. Billy Beltran announced recently that all police operatives previously assigned in [...] Read more

Military launch rescue ops for latest victims of ASG

17 Nov 2017 Hits:102 Be the first to comment!

Government troops are now conducting operations to rescue the six people, including two children, who have been abducted by about 15 suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits in Patikul, Sulu, according to [...] Read more

OCENR sets city-wide clean up on Nov 25

17 Nov 2017 Hits:55 Be the first to comment!

The City Government through the Office of the City Environment and Natural Resources (OCENR) will head a city-wide clean up drive on November 25. “We are going to have a city-wide [...] Read more


17 Nov 2017 Hits:71 Be the first to comment!

Este si Leo Gandy Serrano, 15 años , Grade 10 na Claret High School Ciudad de Zamboanga . Ya principia juga Muay Thai cuando Grade 5 ele , producto le [...] Read more

Zambopen PWDs endorse Kahil as AVRC III head

16 Nov 2017 Hits:74 Be the first to comment!

The Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in Zamboanga Peninsula as represented by their chosen leaders have strongly endorsed Zamboangueno Teddy Kahil as head of the Area Vocational Rehabilitation Center (AVRC) in [...] Read more

City SWM Board meet set today

16 Nov 2017 Hits:74 Be the first to comment!

The City Solid Waste Management Board will meet today, November 16, to prepare for the full implementation of the solid waste management ordinance in the City slated on November 27. According [...] Read more


16 Nov 2017 Hits:63 Be the first to comment!

Venue : Southern west campus Gym, San Jose Gusu. Category 40 and 50 years old Master division. Team Standing:    WIN         LOSS J VINCE            [...] Read more

Phil. Coast Guard SWM joins clean-up drive

15 Nov 2017 Hits:70 Be the first to comment!

The Philippine Costal Guard Auxiliary SWM, a volunteer organization, joined the International Costal Clean-up drive (ICC 2017) last recently from 5:00 in the morning to 12:00 noon along the coastal [...] Read more

Mendicants rounded up by the CSWDO

15 Nov 2017 Hits:108 Be the first to comment!

At least 266 mendicants and vagrants were rescued from the various streets of the city proper by the newly created Task Force Mendicants, according to Assistant Social Welfare Officer Dr. [...] Read more


15 Nov 2017 Hits:68 Be the first to comment!

Juego de Zamboanga 2017 Swimming Elementary boys, MVP – GRANT VINCCI VILLANUEVA , Grade 6 na Ateneo de Zamboanga University . Ya saka el 5 Gold medalla na 5 individual [...] Read more


14 Nov 2017 Hits:273 Be the first to comment!

Doot Poktoy, Lanuza Surigao Del Sur Philippines– After almost a week long of festivities, the 15th Lanuza Surfing Festival announces Neil Sanchez (Baler), Mark Aguila (Baler), Daisy Valdez (La Union), [...] Read more

Seven hurt in three road mishaps

14 Nov 2017 Hits:107 Be the first to comment!

Seven people were injured in three separate road accidents in Barangays Buenavista and Talisayan, Zamboanga City over the weekend. In Sitio Buntot, Buenavista, an 11-year-old pedestrian identified as Reynalyn Rodriguez y [...] Read more

Military recovers 30 firearms of Maute terrorists in Marawi

14 Nov 2017 Hits:89 Be the first to comment!

At least 30 assorted firearms believed to be from the members of the Daesh inspired Maute terror group have been recovered by combined troops under the Joint Task Group Ranao, [...] Read more


14 Nov 2017 Hits:66 Be the first to comment!

Este el Resulta del Nov. 3-6, 2017 Grade School Swimmers: BOYS : 1.     BUNDAJON, GEOFFE PAUL R. --  GOLD 50m Butterfly, 200m IM, 100m Butterfly, 4x50 Free Relay, 4x100 Free Relay. [...] Read more


13 Nov 2017 Hits:77 Be the first to comment!

Este si Kaiser Nuludin Sabaani , su palayao “Kais” , 23 años de edad, 5’7” el altor, residente de Camino Nuevo, Ciudad de Zamboanga . Su mayores si Ibrahim E. [...] Read more