By: Atty. Fatimah Bin Guerra

Thank you, Honorable Chief Justice and Associate Justices for showing us how justice works in this country.  Thank you for issuing the TRO on the MOA-AD, for showing to the Filipino people how fast you can actually act upon cases filed by powerful politicians like Emmanuel Piñol and Celso Lobregat.  Indeed, the speediness at which you have acted on this case was extraordinary and phenomenal.  In 3 months time, you have struck down a document which took more than 10 years of painstaking negotiations to accomplish.

Thank you, too, for helping MILF base Commanders Ameril Ombra Kato and Bravo recruit more fighters and supporters.  Your decision vindicated what they have always believed from the very beginning — that this government will never be sincere in talking peace with the Bangsamoro people.  Now we are faced with the world’s longest running armed conflict that sees no resolution in sight.  Thank you for condemning Mindanao as the next Afghanistan or Darfur in Asia.

As you said, you went farther to rule on the constitutionality of the MOA-AD as it involves a matter of transcendental importance.  And for the guidance of everyone, you struck down the MOA as unconstitutional. Scouring on the voluminous pages of your decision including the separate, concurring and dissenting opinions, one could not help but ask, “where is the guidance?”

Thank you, Supreme Court for making us realize that we still have a lot to learn from the history of Mindanao.  That we still have a long way to go in healing the wounds of the past, in correcting the historical wrong committed against the Bangsamoro and indigenous peoples.  Thank you if you can agree that some of you could use a great deal of refresher in the History class of Prof. Rudy Rodil,  a well respected historian and scholar who by the way is now a persona non grata in his own home city in  Iligan.  But that’s not something new.  Jesus Christ himself was also a persona non grata in Nazareth.

Hear ye, hear ye, Supreme Court of the Philippines, thank you for making us understand that the minority definitely has no place in this country.  This was glaring in the series of Oral Arguments where you generously provided ample time to lawyers, politicians, mayors, senators and generals to argue against the MOA-AD.  Yet, no single Moro soul has ever been allowed to speak about her own identity, the desecration of her culture, the militarization of her community and the blatant discrimination that she feels as a Muslim Filipino.  Is this the kind of equality that the blind-folded lady of justice bears? What an ostentatious display of fair play, Honorable Justices!

Thank you also for reigniting the fire of animosity and hatred between Christians and Muslims. The resurgence of fanatical and anti-Muslim local vigilante called Ilaga came not as a surprise. Local politicians, exploiting your decision, unleashed this menace in order to curb the Bangsamoro’s quest for justice.  Thanks to the 10,000 shotguns the other Puno in the DILG distributed to arm the civilians, the theater of communal violence in the ’70s is now showing again.  Can Puno “TRO” the other Puno, too?

Thank you for helping these politicians secure their interests over vast tracts of lands they have grabbed from the Moro people.  By the way, land grabbing was “legal” because it was in accordance with the Public Land Act which “legitimized” the dispossession of the non-Christian tribes from their ancestral lands.  Never mind if it is not just, notwithstanding if it is not fair, for as long as it is legal and in accordance with the Constitution.

Thank you for making us understand why in the JPEPA case, you upheld the exercise of executive privilege by Malacañang while in the MOA-AD it simply cannot be.  Vis-a vis the interests of superpowers like Japan and the US, it’s okay to compromise sovereignty, we are their puppets anyway.  But with regards to the Bangsamoro people, that’s another story. Our business interest over their ancestral domain is of such transcendental importance to these Senators, Congressmen, Mayors, Generals, Lawyers, Vice Governors  cum owners of mining, logging, banana, pineapple and jatropha plantations in Mindanao – they cannot be compromised.

Thank you for affirming that we are indeed one country, one people, one nation.  As such, one cannot help but wonder why the military indiscriminately drop bombs over civilian communities in Mindanao akin to the carpet bombings in Iraq.  If you stubbornly insist that the Bangsamoro people cannot be allowed to dismember from this Republic, you should at least treat them like they are members of this country in the first place.

But alas! Thanks that seven of you, Honorable Justices, will be retiring next year.  Whether it is this court or next year’s full Arroyo court, it doesn’t matter to ordinary Moros, lumads and settlers anymore.  There is no place for them in your court anyway.

In the meantime, there are more urgent tasks to do in Mindanao — attending to the sick, burying the dead, consoling the orphans, securing our homes and communities.  As children slowly die of hunger and diarrhea in congested evacuation centers, they ask?  “Why is there war again”.  May you take it in your conscience to explain to them how the constitution is far more important than the innocent lives of hundreds of thousands of people.  They pay such a high price for your Constitution. You should thank them for that, Supreme Court of the Philippines.

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