Regular courts to handle cases of Christians and Muslims under BBL

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 12 2018 10:23 PM

MANILA - The bicameral conference committee on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law has adopted provisions that keep jurisdiction over cases involving Christians and Muslims in the Bangsamoro with the regular trial courts instead of the Shariah courts.

“Under the approved version of the articles when it comes to cases involving Muslims and Christians it is very clear it will be the ordinary courts," Senate Majority Leader Miguel Zubiri told reporters.

Based on the draft, the Shariah courts appear to have jurisdiction over cases involving Shariah Law, which will apply only to cases involving Muslims. 

However, it may apply to non-Muslims who voluntarily submit to the jurisdiction of the shariah courts. 

Traditional or tribal laws shall be applicable to disputes pf indigenous peoples within the Bangsamoro. 

The provisions of the BBL shall not prejudice the rights of Muslims and non-indigenous peoples.

Zubiri added that the bicameral panel has yet to resolve the matter of the joint body for zones of joint cooperations. 

“Problem diyan is ang usapin dito iyung fishing industry, sa mga sardinas, the canneries of Zamboanga City. They fish around the Sulu Sea," he said.

“We have to balance it. Ayaw din natin mangyari 'di makapasok ang fishing teams diyan. We have to strike a balance.”

Zubiri said the panel has also decided to authorize up to 19 kilometers of Bangsamoro waters only. 

He said that as of Thursday afternoon, they only have Articles 10 and 18 left to tackle. They are also tackling 50 sections of the different articles they had to skip.

Zubiri said they have also reached an agreement to adopt the Senate's stand for the Bangsamoro and the Department of Energy to jointly explore and utilize natural resources.

Overall, Zubiri said the BBL is shaping up to be a better proposal than the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. 

The bicameral panel hopes to finish discussions Thursday night to give the secretariat time to come up with a clean copy for final review that can be ratified by both chambers then signed by the President Rodrigo Duterte on the morning of his State of the Nation Address on July 23.