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Leonen's SC appointment has no negative effect on the peace process

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles on Wednesday welcomed President Aquino’s appointment of former Government of the Philippines (GPH) peace panel chair Dean Marvic Leonen as an associate justice of the Supreme Court.

We congratulate Dean Marvic Leonen on his appointment as an associate justice of the Supreme Court, knowing fully well the exceptional leadership, integrity, and competence that he will bring to the highest court,” Deles said in a statement.

Deles said Leonen’s appointment to the High Tribunal will not have a negative effect on the current peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) which saw historic signing of a Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) in Malacanang. Negotiations are now on its final stretch as both panels, with their respective Technical Working Groups, are working on the annexes on Power-sharing, Wealth-sharing and Normalization.

“The peace negotiations with the MILF is on track and moving towards the completion of the Comprehensive Agreement by the end of the year,” Deles said. “OPAPP (Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process) and the (GPH) Panel are ready to ensure the necessary leadership for the Panel to successfully complete its tasks.”

“The replacement of Justice Leonen as chief negotiator will follow the usual process of selection and will be announced accordingly. We will be submitting our recommendation to the President shortly,” Deles added.

Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda announced earlier today that President Aquino has appointed Leonen as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court after having received the short list from the Judicial and Bar Council.

Lacierda added that Leonen’s appointment “is one that the President views as a lasting legacy of his administration, consistent with his desire of a Judiciary imbued with the highest standards of independence, probity and integrity.”

Leonen served as the government chief negotiator with the MILF under the Aquino administration. It was under his leadership that the FAB was signed to serve as a roadmap for the establishment of the Bangsamoro political entity that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

“The Supreme Court gains a member with a deep understanding of the Constitution and our nation's historic journey to peace. This is indeed a major gain in our continuing journey for peace and justice,” Deles said.

The GPH and MILF negotiating panels recently concluded the 33rd round of formal exploratory talks in Kuala Lumpur. They are set to meet again in December. #

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