Judiciary Reform: Mindanao Final Agreement

III. The New Regional Autonomous Government (A), Judicial

Article 69:

It shall be a policy of the National Government that at least one (1) justice in the Supreme Court and at least two (2) in the Court of Appeals shall come from the Autonomous Region. For this purpose, the Head of the Autonomous Government may submit the names of his recommendees to the Judicial and Bar Council for consideration. This is without prejudice to the appointment of qualified inhabitants of the Autonomous Region to other positions in the judiciary in accordance with their merits and qualifications.

Article 70:

The GRP shall endeavour to cause the appointment, as a member of the Judicial and Bar Council, a qualified person to be recommended by the Head of the Regional Autonomous Government.

Article 71:

The GRP shall request the Supreme Court to create the Office of the Deputy Court Administrator for the Area of Autonomy, and to appoint thereto a qualified person recommended by the Head of the Regional Autonomous Government.

Implementation History

1996

No Implementation

The 1996 peace accord calls for one Supreme Court justice, two Court of Appeal justices, as well as one member of the Bar Council, to come from the ARMM. In addition, an Office of the Deputy Court Administrator is to be established and headed by a person recommended by the ARMM Governor. None of the aforementioned appointments related to judicial reform were implemented in the year.

1997

No Implementation

None of the aforementioned appointments related to judicial reform were implemented in the year.

1998

No Implementation

None of the aforementioned appointments related to judicial reform were implemented in the year.

1999

No Implementation

None of the aforementioned appointments related to judicial reform were implemented in the year.

2000

No Implementation

None of the aforementioned appointments related to judicial reform were implemented in the year.

2001

No Implementation

In 2001, Republic Act 9054, also called the Extended ARMM Law, is passed by the Congress of the Philippines. The bill contained a section on judicial powers of the ARMM and repeats the language of the 1996 peace agreement, but adds in the additional phrase “whenever feasible.” Article 8, Section 2 (Judges from the Autonomous Region) of RA 9054 reads as follows: 
“It shall be the policy of the central government or national government that, whenever feasible, at least one (1) justice in the Supreme Court and two (2) justices in the Court of Appeals shall come from qualified jurists of the autonomous region.” 

RA 9054 also repeats the language of the 1996 peace agreement regarding the creation of the Office of Deputy Court Administrator, but the office was not created, and none of the three aforementioned appointments were made1  The Republic of the Philippines Department of Justice (DOJ) directory of offices does not include any listing for Office of Deputy Court Administrator for the ARMM.2

 

2002

No Implementation

None of the aforementioned appointments related to judicial reform were implemented in the year.

2003

No Implementation

None of the aforementioned appointments related to judicial reform were implemented in the year.

2004

No Implementation

None of the aforementioned appointments related to judicial reform were implemented in the year.

2005

No Implementation

In 2005, the GRP reported to the OIC that the judicial reform provisions had been fully implemented and they reported that five Sharia district courts and 30 Sharia circuit courts had been established in the ARMM.3 In a 1994 interview, Judge Alauya, a Sharia Magistrate, indicated that there were at that time five Sharia district courts and 31 Sharia circuit courts in the ARMM, and that judges received their training in Sharia Law in Saudi Arabia.4 While it is unclear what the objectives were regarding Sharia courts in the ARMM, what can be established by the two sources is that no change occurred between 1994 and 2005.