President Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. said the adoption of the Islamic system of justice under a proposed federal system of government does not mean the imposition of extremely harsh and unusual punishment on convicted criminals like amputation of limbs.

In a recent lecture on federalism at the Asian Institute of Management in Makati City, Pimentel, who is seeking the federalization of the country, said the shariah system should not go beyond the bounds of the 1987 Constitution which prohibits “cruel and unusual punishment.”

He said legislators from predominantly Muslim Indonesia and Malaysia have informed him that the shariah may be modified according to the advances in modern penology.

Pimentel, principal author of the organic act on Muslim autonomy, said the shariah system that is practiced in Saudi Arabia cannot be applied in the country.

“That cannot be done in this country for the simple reason that we have a Constitution which bans cruel and unusual punishment,” Pimentel explained.

The shariah system, according to the Senate president, must be modified as this is being done in Malaysia and more advanced Islamic conference.

Pimentel said the shariah system should apply only to the confines of the Bangsamoro federal state and all Muslim residents.

“If, let us say, the litigation involves Muslim against Muslim, then the shariah will be made to apply. But if the litigation involves Muslim against Christian, or Muslim against lumad, or Christian against lumad residing within the Bangsamoro federal state, the national law will apply,” he said.

Pimentel also emphasized that in a predominantly Christian country like the Philippines, there is no reason why Islam, which is the religion of peace, should be at war with Christianity which is a religion of love.

“After all, both Christians and Muslims alike believe that they are common ancestors of a biblical father who is called Ibrahim in the Holy Koran and Abraham in the Holy Bible,” he said.

Pimentel said the new organic act for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) which becomes a law at the latter seeks to strengthen the shariah system of law in the region.