My Google Page Rank

Is ARMM a sectarian sub-state?

PDFPrintE-mail

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:

Comments   

 
-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...
thanks
Quote
 

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

Beng welcomes Litlit’s appointment as SP member

15 Feb 2018 Hits:190 Be the first to comment!

President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed San Roque Barangay Chairman Joselito “Litlit” Macrohom as member of the Sangguniang Panlungsod or City council replacing Charlie Mariano who stepped down from office last November 2017. As this developed, Mayor Beng Climaco congratulated Macrohon on his appointment and wished him luck in all his endeavors. With the complete set of councilors for both Districts I and II and the sectoral representatives, the Sangguniang Panlungsod can maximize its potentials and come up with quality legislations that are in line with the priority thrust of the local government on Security Health and Education, the mayor said. Macrohon ran for Councilor under District I during the May 2016 local elections and landed 9th place. Macrohon’s appointment, along with other new appointments [...] Read more

Prev Next Page:

City Registrar observes Civil Reg Month

15 Feb 2018 Hits:107 Be the first to comment!

The city, through the Office of the City Civil Registrar,is observing the Civil Registration Month this February with several activities highlighting the importance of civil registration. The month-long observance is punctuated [...] Read more


CHO stresses need for measles vaccination

14 Feb 2018 Hits:163 Be the first to comment!

The City Health Office (CHO) yesterday appealed to parents to submit their children for measles vaccination. This after a seven-month baby died last February 6, 2018 allegedly due to measles, five [...] Read more


MYEISHA JOLO DOWN M.LOZANO TAWI – TAWI

11 Jan 2018 Hits:309 Be the first to comment!

Este el Istoria del Jong Cariaga Mindanao Cup 2018 que ya hace na Golden Boys gym anoche. Ya sale Champion el Myeisha Jolo kay completo todo departamento del juego especialmente [...] Read more


BFP personnel to undergo fire suppression activities

10 Jan 2018 Hits:268 Be the first to comment!

Personnel of the Bureau of Fire Protection in Zamboanga City will undergo fire suppression trainings in the days to come in a bid to keep them abreast of the firefighting [...] Read more


RED CORALS UNITED Y RESTO DEL MUNDO FC –TABLA

10 Jan 2018 Hits:254 Be the first to comment!

Del Domingo pasao ya mira kita con el Resto Del Mundo FC contra Red Corals United donde ya sale Tabla el juego na Soccer Football. Amo quel el ultimo juego [...] Read more


TFZ gets 10 motorcycles from City Government

09 Jan 2018 Hits:286 Be the first to comment!

Task Force Zamboanga (TFZ) on Monday received from the local government 10 units of XRM motorcycles for security patrols in the outskirts of the city. Mayor Beng Climaco together with Councilor [...] Read more


Beng leads destruction of seized items

09 Jan 2018 Hits:308 Be the first to comment!

To show the Local Government’s firm commitment to public safety and security, Mayor Beng Climaco on Monday personally maneuvered a road roller and led the destruction of seized items such [...] Read more


Warring clans arm cache seized by gov't troops in Lanao del Sur

09 Jan 2018 Hits:330 Be the first to comment!

The military on Saturday seized a cached of high-powered firearms from warring clans, following a clearing operation in Lanao del Sur province. Capt. Jo-Ann Petinglay, spokesperson of the Western Mindanao Command, [...] Read more


BOALAN AGM TEAM OUTSMART FARRAH J

09 Jan 2018 Hits:268 Be the first to comment!

MINDANAO LEAGUE 2018 BY JONG CARIAGA: Boalan Agm  nuevo star athlete Kaiwa Sabdulla y si Neil Jumao-as ya dale mira kay puede sila gana con el maga mapuersa team como el [...] Read more


ANIMO JORTZ SURPRISED FARRAH J TEAM

08 Jan 2018 Hits:203 Be the first to comment!

JONG CARIAGA BASKETBALL MINDANAO CUP ‘18. Que el juego ta ase na golden boys gym ta principia 7:00 del noche. Fritz Vesagas amo el ya ase gana con el disuyu [...] Read more


BASKETBALL THRILLA IN ZAMBOANGA

07 Jan 2018 Hits:239 Be the first to comment!

JONG CARIAGA MINDANAO CUP Este el un torneo que debe kita mira kay el team del Myiesha Jolo tiene 5 ex PBA athleta y el losdemas puru mga star players de [...] Read more


Climaco reiterates appeal to Customs: Stop smuggling

06 Jan 2018 Hits:823 Be the first to comment!

Mayor Beng Climaco has once again appealed to the Bureau of Customs to clean up Zamboanga City against smuggling, and it can only be done if the agency will deputize [...] Read more


Escapee recaptured in Isabela

06 Jan 2018 Hits:256 Be the first to comment!

An inmate who escaped last Tuesday night from his cell in Isbela City was recaptured by the Isabela City Police on Wednesday afternoon in one of the islands in Maluso, [...] Read more


Beng orders intensified drive vs illegal quarrying

06 Jan 2018 Hits:238 Be the first to comment!

Mayor Beng Climaco has ordered a renewed campaign against illegal quarrying activities as she cited the city’s firm advocacy on environmental protection. Mayor Climaco Thursday has directed City Police Director PSSupt. [...] Read more


Four hurt in motorcycle collision

06 Jan 2018 Hits:247 Be the first to comment!

Four people were injured when two motorcycles accidentally collided in Zone 3, Barangay Guisao, Zamboanga City, on Thursday. Injured were Ryan Pantaleon y Atilano, 27, single, driver of the XRM motorcycle [...] Read more


Old man, old woman found dead in different barangays

05 Jan 2018 Hits:247 Be the first to comment!

Two elders were found dead inside their house in two separate places in Sitio Parkas, Barangay Boalan and Zone 2, Barangay Lumbangan, both in this city last Wednesday. Reports showed that [...] Read more


MUAY THAI PITBULL … BRY

05 Jan 2018 Hits:205 Be the first to comment!

Este si Bryan Ray Mangaser Siglos, su palayao “Bry”, 17 años de edad, anak di Severino Ledesma Siglos y Maria Ruzen Ramos Mangaser. Su hermano si Bennett Jhordany hermana si [...] Read more


CDRRMC okeys P3M cash aid for Vinta-stricken towns

04 Jan 2018 Hits:308 Be the first to comment!

The City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC) has approved a resolution recommending the allocation of some P3 million from the city’s quick response fund, for financial assistance to [...] Read more