Sunteți pe pagina 1din 8

Republic of the Philippines Supreme Court City of Manila SYLVIA TORRES VILLALOBOS, Petitioner - versus HON. MEHOL K.

SADAIN in his capacity as Secretary/ Chief Executive Officer of National Commission on Muslim Filipinos. HON.TERESITA QUINTOS-DELES in her capacity as Presidential Advisor on the Peace Process.
Respondents

Memorandum Sylvia T. Villalobos, through the undersigned city prosecutor, before this Honorable Court, most respectfully submits and presents this Memorandum: Prefatory Statement The separation of church and state is one of the most important legal and constitutional principles in the Philippines. Unfortunately, it is also a highly debated principle. Some people advocate strict separation, some advocate accommodation, and others argue that church and state should not be separated at all. Naturally, there are regular news stories dealing with the general issues surrounding the separation of church and state: debates, principles, speeches, lawsuits, and more. This Legal Memorandum assails in the most appropriate terms applicable the drafted provision in our Constitution. The petitioner humbly comes before this Honorable Court and most respectfully prays that its Honorable Members, acting collectively as the third great branch of the Philippine Government, exercise their constitutional duty to justifiably check the certain provisions, mainly RA 9997 dated July 27, 2009 creating the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos specifically in Article 11 Section 8 para. Q under Powers and Functions of NCMF and in Article 11 Section 15,16,17 it appears to violates a constitutional principle on the Separation of Church and State ,Article 11 Section 6 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution in connection with the creation of NCMF for its constitutionality. Republic Act also known as RA 9997dated July 27, 2009. CREATING THE NATIONAL COMMISSION ON MUSLIM FILIPINOS DEFINING ITS POWERS, FUNCTIONS, AND RESPONSIBILITIES AND APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
1

The RA 9997 materially provides: In Article II Section 8 paragraph q under Powers and Functions of NCMF (q) Administer all programs, projects and activities, formulate the necessary rules and regulations, and coordinate with pertinent offices to ensure the success of the annual Hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; (r) Promote the development of a Hajj Assistance Fund that shall be created from contributions of Muslim Filipinos and other donors which shall be used to support the financial needs of deserving Muslim Filipinos intending to participate in the annual Hajj; Article II Section 15, 16, 17 The Executive Director shall be appointed by the President and shall enjoy security of tenure and may only be removed for cause in accordance with law. Section 15. Hajj Attach. - The President shall appoint a Hajj Attach from among the three (3) recommendees of the Commission within fifteen (15) days from the submission of such recommendees by the Commission. The Hajj Attach shall coordinate with the Ministry of Hajj of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on all matters pertaining to the conduct of the annual Hajj. He/She shall be an academic degree holder and must be able to write and speak fluently the Arabic language. He/She shall hold office in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and shall enjoy the same rank, salary, and privileges as those of Attach of the national government. Section 16. Amirul Hajj. - The President shall appoint the Secretary of the Commission as the Amirul Hajj who shall serve as the representative of the President and as the head of the Muslim Filipino pilgrims who will attend the annual Hajj. Section 17. Change of Pilgrim's Name. - The Commission shall authenticate the certification which is issued by the Hajj Attach and the Ministry of Hajj of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and which provides a Muslim name to a pilgrim. The authentication issued by the Commission, which shall contain both the pilgrim's registered name in the Philippine Civil Registry and his/her newly-issued Muslim name, shall then be legally recognized by the national government as valid for all intents and purposes. ------------------------------------This petition which prays for the declaration of the unconstitutionality of the certain provision of Republic Act 9997 has been filed before the courts and was ever an issue due to its unconstitutionality. There are US Supreme Court decisions that are held in high esteem by the Philippine high court. For a law or policy to be religiously neutral, the Supreme Court will consider:
2

1. Whether the policy has secular purpose; 2. Whether the primary effect the does not advance or inhibit legislation; and 3. Whether the policy creates an excessive entanglement between government and religion. Despite passing remarkable laws uplifting the status and rights of our
Muslims brothers and sisters community, there are still provisions of our law that threatens their rights. Thus, I hereby assail Article II Section 8 paragraph q and

Article II Section 15, 16,17 of Republic Act 9997 . Nature of the Petition This petition is filed pursuant to Article 2 Section 6 of the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines clearly states that The separation of Church & State shall be INVIOLABLE I humbly pray that this Honorable Court determine whether or not there is an issue of unconstitutionality on the assailed provision of RA 9997. Parties The Petitioner is Sylvia T. Villalobos. She can be served pleadings and processes at #920 Magtoto St, Mandaluyong City. She is filing this suit as a taxpayer, a student of law, most importantly, as a CITIZEN of the Republic of the Philippines. Respondents are: HON. MEHOL K. SADAIN in his capacity as Secretary/ Chief Executive Officer of National Commission on Muslim Filipinos. He can be served at the 79 Jocfer Annex Bldg. Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City. He is a Presidential Appointee of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III. HON.TERESITA QUINTOS-DELES in her capacity as Presidential Advisor on the Peace Process - . She can be served at The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) is mandated to oversee, coordinate, and integrate the implementation of the comprehensive peace process. BASIS FOR TAKING COGNIZANCE OF THIS PETITION LEGAL STANDING OF THE PETITIONER This instant petition is praying for the declaration of the unconstitutionality of the assailed Article II Section 8 paragraph q and Article II Section 15, 16, 17 of Republic Act 9997 on the ground that it is in contravention with Article 11 Section 6 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution
3

As a taxpayer, a student of law and a law-abiding citizen of the Philippines, he is making this petition with a strong conviction that the assailed specific provisions of RA 9997 be declared unconstitutional. The petitioner is not submitting this petition for his own benefits rather for the benefits of the Filipino citizens. As a student of law, he is very much aware of the plight of Muslim minorities in
the Philippines. It is within his grounds that he must not be deaf and silent of its unconstitutionality; instead, he is invoking his rights to apply what he have learned from our Constitution and from the School of Law. In the near future, if privileged enough, he will be passing all the learning that he learned to the next generation. And it will be illmannered if he will just neglect the call of justice, which is apparently, a contradiction of his purpose of pursuing the degree of law.

Therefore, the petitioner has a legal standing to assail the said article. "Locus standi or legal standing or has been defined as a personal and substantial interest in the case such that the party has sustained or will sustain direct injury as a result of the governmental act that is being challenged. The gist of the question of standing is whether a party alleges such personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions." STATEMENT OF THE FACTS 1. On July 27, 2009, Republic Act No. 9997 or most commonly known as the. An act CREATING THE NATIONAL COMMISSION ON MUSLIM FILIPINOS DEFINING ITS POWERS, FUNCTIONS, AND RESPONSIBILITIES AND APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES took effect. It has been strictly followed and strongly observed. 2. There is no doubt that the authors of the law had carefully constructed and
justly defines the provisions, powers and functions of the commission and their corresponding roles. Until now, it is still in full effect and well respected. But, as time passed by, some of its provisions are no longer just and thus, must be declared unconstitutional.

3. The certain provisions of RA 9997 are as follows: 4. In Article II Section 8 paragraph q under Powers and Functions of NCMF (q) Administer all programs, projects and activities, formulate the necessary rules and regulations, and coordinate with pertinent offices to ensure the success of the annual Hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; (r) Promote the development of a Hajj Assistance Fund that shall be created from contributions of Muslim Filipinos and other donors which shall be used to support the financial needs of deserving Muslim Filipinos intending to participate in the annual Hajj;
4

5. Article II Section 15, 16, 17 The Executive Director shall be appointed by the President and shall enjoy security of tenure and may only be removed for cause in accordance with law. 6. Sections 15. Hajj Attach. - The President shall appoint a Hajj Attach from among the three (3) recommendees of the Commission within fifteen (15) days from the submission of such recommendees by the Commission. The Hajj Attachs shall coordinate with the Ministry of Hajj of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on all matters pertaining to the conduct of the annual Hajj. He/ She shall be an academic degree holder and must be able to write and speak fluently the Arabic language. He/ She shall hold office in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and shall enjoy the same rank, salary, and privileges as those of Attach of the national government. 7. Section 16. Amirul Hajj. - The President shall appoint the Secretary of the Commission as the Amirul Hajj who shall serve as the representative of the President and as the head of the Muslim Filipino pilgrims who will attend the annual Hajj. 8. Section 17. Change of Pilgrim's Name. - The Commission shall authenticate the certification which is issued by the Hajj Attaches and the Ministry of Hajj of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and which provides a Muslim name to a pilgrim. The authentication issued by the Commission, which shall contain both the pilgrim's registered name in the Philippine Civil Registry and his/her newly-issued Muslim name, shall then be legally recognized by the national government as valid for all intents and purposes. 9. This is indeed undoubtedly, contravenes with Section 6 Article 2 of the 1987
Philippine Constitution. As stated:

The separation of Church & State shall be INVIOLABLE 10. not only that the unconstitutionality resides on the provisions, but also with the unfair
administration of the act.

Generally, these are highly impossible to be proven by the citizens of the Philippines, on the ground that, the said act has given a license to officials of NCMF to breed corruption especially on the issue of Hajj. This is the most common mechanism. GROUND FOR THE PETITION The constitutional command, however, is more than just the prohibition of a state religion. That is the minimal meaning. Jurisprudence has expanded it to mean that the state may not pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. That is the separation part of the constitutional command. The other part is
5

the free exercise clause. Both are embodied in one sentence which says: No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. -Art. III, Section 5, 1987 Constitution. One-half of the seats allocated to the party-list representatives shall be filled, as provided by law, by selection or election from labor, peasant, urban poor, Indigenous cultural communities, women, youth, and such other sectors as may be provided by law, except the religious sector.-Art. VI, sec. 5(2). DISCUSSIONS AND ARGUMENTS That such a concern is being raised at all in a country that, for many years, has been under the spell of Religious crisis on the issue of Muslims political and religious rights. But placed in the expanded context of a country with a predominantly Roman Catholic populace and a three hundred year-history under Spanish ecclesiastical supremacy, the question is really directed at the proper place of faith as a source of stability as well as renewal in the public square. The issues the question draws unto it come into a sharper focus when we realize that there too is a growing segment of the Filipino-Muslim population drawn into entrusting to NCMF their hard earned money for the pilgrimage also known as Hajj which the commission as well are also beginning to flex their political muscle in the Philippine political landscape. Muslims should be left to manage freely their own religious affairs and not to be meddled by the government. For example this scenario that happened in 2011 , about 1,182 Filipino hajj pilgrims have to be sent home after they could not get a visa to allow them to travel to Saudi for the Hajj. This case of another batch of stranded Filipino hajj pilgrims has always happened in the past. Thanks to the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) which is primarily responsible to coordinate all preparations for the annual Hajj. The bottom line of the problem is this despite the 12,000 quotas allowed by the Saudi government for the Philippines, the NCMF only requested for 4,000 quotas. Then, afterwards, it again requested for additional 1,000 quotas. It justified its new request to the unpredictable increase of Filipino Muslims who had decided to register after the elections in Mindanao have been cancelled, then the peso appreciated over the dollar, and then, the relaxation of rules and procedures under Republic Act 9997 that created NCMF. NCMF has also put President Aquino in an embarrassing diplomatic situation when it asked him to personally appeal to Saudi King for additional hajj visas, but was likely turned down. The President seems to be clueless on the real issue behind the apparent deliberate increase of registered Filipino hajj pilgrims. He should know better why almost every year many supposed pilgrims were unable to secure visa on time. It is not a simple case of a
6

delayed issuance of visa. The President should look deeper into this perennial problem. I find it to be case of not just trying to cover up for the inefficiency to make necessary arrangement ahead of time for this annual Filipino-Muslims hajj pilgrims, but also, it seems and not without merits, to confirm long-standing suspicions held by many in the Muslim communities that some are deliberately perpetuating the ill-practice of requesting additional visas beyond the already-approved hajj quota to allow them to make a business out of this sacred religious activity at the expense of the ordinary Filipino Muslims. Hence, unconstitutional. CONCLUDING STATEMENT The petitioner then again underscores the unjust implications of Article 11 Section 8 para. Q under Powers and Functions of NCMF and in Article 11 Section 15, 16, 17 of RA 9997 and furthermore, highlights the deliberate violation of the principles on separation of church and state in Section 6 Article 2 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution. PRAYER WHEREFORE, it is most respectfully prayed of this Honorable Court that: a.) upon the filing of this petition, a Resolution be issued setting ORAL ARGUMENTS before this Honorable Supreme Court b.) after due hearing and deliberation, it will declare the UNCONSTITUTIONALITY of Article 11 Section 8 para. Q under Powers and
Functions of NCMF and in Article 11 Section 15, 16, 17 Republic Act No. 9997, otherwise known as the Republic Act 9997 and be properly amended. Petitioner prays for such other relief as this Honorable Supreme Court may find equitable and proper in the premises.

September 27, 2013, Mandaluyong City.


Atty. Beke Siya

Counsel for Petitioner IBP No. 86450 Copy furnished: Atty. Paki Alam City Prosecutor Mandaluyong City