A grand Imam in the southern part of the country issued a fatwa, a ruling on a point of Islamic law given by a recognized
authority, against three national candidates for being anti-Islam.
In an Inquirer report, Marawi City grand imam Ustadz Jamel Yahya issued the edict against presidential candidate Joseph Estrada, senatorial candidate Franklin Drilon and vice presidential bet Mar Roxas.
According to this Islamic cleric, Estrada was the architect of the 2000 war against the Moros while Roxas and Drilon supported the move against the controversial memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain. The MoA-AD was a draft agreement that sought to expand the Moro territory. The government did not sign it in the end. It was later voted down by the Supreme Court for being unconstitutional in August 2008.
Yahya urged the Moro people to tear down the campaign ads of the three national candidates.
The MILF Luwaran article published the statement of the Bangsamoro Supreme Council of Ulama. “After studying the actions and policies of Mr. Erap Estrada before and after his election as president until this present time, we found out that he is really an enemy of Islam,” the ulama or Muslim legal scholar’s statement read.
“During his incumbency as Philippine president, he declared and waged all-out war against the MILF which resulted in widespread destruction in Mindanao and Sulu and over 1 million Bangsamoro Muslims being uprooted from their lands and homes. Mosques were not even spared and were also desecrated and destroyed. He has publicly announced that once elected as president, his priority is to make war against the MILF, which is currently holding peace talks with government, again.”
What is clear from this religious edict is that Islam is indeed a political ideology. The Bangsamoro people would like to secede from the Philippines on the ground of religion. To appease the Muslims, the corrupt government of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and its legal magicians came up with the Bangsamoro Homeland agreement supposedly to end the hostilities between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
The Arroyo government and the Bangsamoro representatives agree on the following concepts and principles:
1. It is the birthright of all Moros and all Indigenous peoples of Mindanao to identify themselves and be accepted as “Bangsamoros”. The Bangsamoro people refers to those who are natives or original inhabitants of Mindanao and its adjacent islands including Palawan and the Sulu archipelago at the time of conquest or colonization of its descendants whether mixed or of full blood. Spouses and their descendants are classified as Bangsamoro. The freedom of choice of the Indigenous people shall be respected.
2. It is essential to lay the foundation of the Bangsamoro homeland in order to address the Bangsamoro people’s humanitarian and economic needs as well as their political aspirations. Such territorial jurisdictions and geographic areas being the natural wealth and patrimony represent the social, cultural and political identity and pride of all the Bangsamoro people. Ownership of the homeland is vested exclusively in them by virtue of their prior rights of occupation that had inhered in them as sizeable bodies of people, delimited by their ancestors since time immemorial, and being the first politically organized dominant occupants.
3. Both Parties acknowledge that ancestral domain does not form part of the public domain but encompasses ancestral, communal, and customary lands, maritime, fluvial and alluvial domains as well all natural resources therein that have inured or vested ancestral rights on the basis of native title. Ancestral domain and ancestral land refer to those held under claim of ownership, occupied or possessed, by themselves or through the ancestors of the Bangsamoro people, communally or individually since time immemorial continuously to the present, except when prevented by war, civil disturbance, force majeure, or other forms of possible usurpation or displacement by force, deceit, stealth, or as a consequence of government project or any other voluntary dealings entered into by the government and private individuals, corporate entities or institutions.
4. Both Parties acknowledge that the right to self-governance of the Bangsamoro people is rooted on ancestral territoriality exercised originally under the suzerain authority of their sultanates and the Pat a Pangampong ku Ranaw. The Moro sultanates were states or karajaan/kadatuan resembling a body politic endowed with all the elements of nation-state in the modern sense. As a domestic community distinct from the rest of the national communities, they have a definite historic homeland. They are the “First Nation” with defined territory and with a system of government having entered into treaties of amity and commerce with foreign nations.
The Parties concede that the ultimate objective of entrenching the Bangsamoro homeland as a territorial space is to secure their identity and posterity, to protect their property rights and resources as well as to establish a system of governance suitable and acceptable to them as distinct dominant people.
5. Both Parties affirm their commitment to mutually respect the right to one’s identity and the parity of esteem of everyone in the political community. The protection of civil rights and religious liberties of individuals underlie the basis of peace and justice of their totality of relationships.
6. Both Parties agree that the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE) shall have the authority and jurisdiction over the Ancestral Domain and Ancestral lands, including both alienable and non-alienable lands encompassed within their homeland and ancestral history, as well as the delineation of ancestral domain/lands of the Bangsamoro people located therein.
7. Vested property rights upon the entrenchment of the BJE shall be recognized and respected subject to paragraph 9 of the strand on Resources.
However this unconstitutional and politically correct agreement did not materialize after the Supreme Court invalidated it. This then resulted in more threats and terrorist activities by some group of people who would like to establish their own territory on account of their religion, culture and identity.
I stated the following in my earlier blog:
I strongly disagree with the idea that secession is justified if it is fueled by religious dogma or the concept of ethnicity. There’s only one justification for a belligerent or hostile territory to secede from its motherland and this is the concept of individual rights. The MILF wants to secede because its warlords seek to establish an Islamic regime in Mindanao. This proposition is not justifiable because they only seek the religious enslavement of people in that part of the country.
The primary issue of Mindanao conflict is religion. A hostile or belligerent province or territory cannot claim secession from the main government on the ground of religion. There were mistakes of the Philippine government but we cannot correct a political wrong by embracing or adopting an evil idea. Those who deny or refuse to believe that the goal of the separatist group of MNLF is to create an independent Islamic state in Mindanao are simply detached from reality. The only valid justification for secession must be based on individual rights. A province cannot claim independence on the ground that it adopts a different kind of religion, culture or ethnic norms.
I have no prejudice against religion, I am opposed to the idea that religious dogmatism can justifiably be used to enslave a group of people or exterminate those who are not in favor of a particular religion. Any kind of religious sect or denomination has the right to operate or flourish under our Republican system, but they have no right to claim political power to enforce their religious prejudices on people who do not choose to adopt any religious dogma. Religious extremists who resort to suicide bombing, kidnapping and terrorist activities have no room in a civilized society. The most dangerous brand of terrorism is the terrorism inspired by an extremist religion, because the people who act on blind faith can always claim that their immoral and ungodly advocacy is right and sanctioned by unknown, unknowable specter in a utopia they call heaven.