Quest for lasting peace (8)
AS already earlier stated, the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) was a preparatory document in that the mechanisms and modalities for the actual implementation thereof were yet to be spelled out in a LATER document known as “Comprehensive Compact.”
Stated differently, the MOA-AD was (and to borrow a reference from international law experts Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Jorge Coquia) a pactum de contrahendo – an agreement by a State to conclude a later and final agreement.
The MOA-AD encapsulized the MILF’s and Bangsamoro’s idea of self-governance and autonomy in four (4) main brackets, i.e., a) political state, which is a SUB-STATE; b) territory; c) resources; and d) governance.
The sub-state referred to is the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (“BJE”) which the MOA-AD recognized as a semi-independent state in order “to secure the identity and posterity of the Bangsamoros, to protect their property rights and resources as well as to establish a system of governance suitable and acceptable to them as a distinct dominant people, xxx to realize their humanitarian and economic needs as well as their political aspirations.”
The BJE would have been a body politic organized by common consent for mutual defense and mutual safety and to promote the general welfare. It appeared to have all the elements of a state, namely, people, territory, sovereignty and government. The BJE, as presented in the MOA-AD, would have been a STATE, as the Philippines was during the Commonwealth period. It was, as held by the Supreme Court in the landmark case of Laurel vs. Misa, “a sovereign govern-ment although not absolute.”
The BJE’s territory embraced the regions of Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan and is composed of the local government units listed in Annexes “A” and “B” of the MOA-AD. This territory supposedly consisted of “communal and customary lands, maritime, fluvial and alluvial domains, the aerial domain, the air space above and natural resources.” (TO BE CONTINUED)