“I understand there is a petition before the Supreme Court, so we’d rather not say anything about it because it’s sub judice. We’ll let the Supreme Court decide,” Presidential Spokesperson Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
The sub judice rule restricts comments and disclosures pertaining to judicial proceedings to avoid prejudging the issue, influencing the court, or obstructing the administration of justice.
Panelo refused to comment stressing that he could be cited for contempt.
In October last year, Sulu Gov. Abdusakur Tan filed a petition questioning the BOL, arguing that it violates sections of the 1987 Constitution, which created the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
Calida, in a response to the petition, insisted that the BOL does not violate any provisions of the Constitution since it did not create a new autonomous region but rather an expansion of the ARMM’s territorial jurisdiction.
Panelo, meanwhile, said while the Palace will continue to push for the BOL’s ratification, it will still be the public to decide on it through a plebiscite scheduled later this month.
“The people will have to decide on that. In those areas affected sila pa rin ang magdedesisyon (they will be the one to make the decision). We will have to respect the sovereign voice,” Panelo said.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has scheduled the plebiscite for the ratification of the BOL on January 21.
On July 26 last year, the President signed the BOL, or Republic Act 11054, which seeks to establish a new Bangsamoro political entity to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
The BOL, which is part of the Duterte administration’s effort to achieve peace with Moro rebel groups, is premised on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, a signed peace deal.