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Supreme Court asked to invalidate BARMM governance code

COTABATO CITY — Officials of the Bangsamoro government are bracing for a drawn-out legal battle as a consequence of the petition by constituent-local executives for the Supreme Court to declare null and void the newly-enacted regional governance code.

Three governors, Mariam Sangki Mangudadatu of Maguindanao del Sur, Mamintal Alonto Adiong Jr. of Lanao del Sur and Abdusakur Mahail Tan of Sulu and the presidents of the League of Mayors in their respective provinces together questioned some provisions in the Bangsamoro Local Governance Code (BLGC), also known as the Bangsamoro Autonomy Act 49, that are for them filled with provisions that runs counter to the national government’s Local Government Code or the Republic Act 7160.

"We are optimistic of the Supreme Court's prompt action on this," Adiong, who has jurisdiction over 39 towns and almost a hundred barangays in Marawi City, said on Wednesday.

The three governors and other petitioners stated in their petition to the SC that the BLGC is not attuned with the national Local Government Code that municipal, city and provincial governments in the autonomous region has been using as guide for operations since its approval by the Senate and the House of Representatives on October 10, 1991.

They argued that some provisions in the BLGC of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, signed as regional law by BARMM’s chief minister, Ahod Balawag Ebrahim, provided the regional government powers over local government units that are supposedly exclusive only to the Office of the President.

Their petition for SC’s action on their assertions about what is for them unconstitutional provisions of the BLGC was filed last Monday.

Mangudadatu, Adiong and Tan, who organized last year the Bangsamoro Governors’ Caucus as a platform for discussions on issues pertaining to Moro autonomy and other issues, had asked the high tribunal to stop the implementation of the BLGC that the 80-seat BARMM parliament approved on Sept. 28, 2023.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the three governors had said that BARMM’s regional governance code had provided the regional government immense powers over LGUs in Maguindanao del Sur,