DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/ 19 July) — The Duterte administration will officially deal with Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chair Nur Misuari, presently a fugitive, only when the effects of the warrants of arrest he is facing are suspended, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza said.
But Dureza said their communication lines with Misuari are open.
He told Malacanang reporters on Tuesday afternoon that President Duterte phoned Misuari Monday night after he approved the peace roadmap Dureza presented.
Duterte “asked that a phone call be made to Chairman Nur Misuari… the conversation was very open. On speaker phone… something very warm between friends.” But Dureza declined to say what the two friends talked about.
Warrants of arrest have been issued against Misuari and 59 others who are facing charges of rebellion and violation of Republic Act 9851 or the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide and other Crimes against Humanity following the September 2013 stand-off in Zamboanga City between his followers and government troops that left 104 persons dead, 192 injured and 110,000 of its 807,000 population displaced.
Asked in a press conference at the Presidential guesthouse here on May 31 if his administration would have the cases against Misuari reinvestigated, Duterte said “walang peace agreement that would result in that. It’s always amnesty.” He shifted to another topic shortly thereafter.
On July 8, he told the crowd at the Mindanao Hariraya Eid’l Fitr at the SMX Convention Center in Davao City that he plans to go to Sulu to talk to Misuari “and maybe I’ll order the military to just let him… just for a while for him to move around Mindanao to get a consensus amongst the followers of MNLF.”
Supporters of Misuari were reported to be massing up in Sulu for Duterte’s visit but Dureza said the President cannot do that while Misuari is still a fugitive.
“We cannot yet deal with him officially because technically, he is still a fugitive,” Dureza said.
But Misuari’s lawyers, he added, are contemplating on having his cases reviewed and see if that review will lead to a suspension of the effects of the warrant.
“That is the route that will be taken,” said Dureza.
We will wait until that procedure is complied with. Only when the warrant is no longer in the way (can this) proceed accordingly,” he said.
As Presidential Assistant for Mindanao in January 2002, Dureza fetched Misuari in Malaysia where he was detained since late November 2001 in an island off Sabah, for alleged illegal entry.
From Malaysia, Dureza brought him to the Philippines, in the bungalow intended for ousted President Joseph Estrada in Fort Santo Domingo in Santa Rosa, Laguna where he was detained for alleged rebellion in Sulu and in Cabatangan in Zamboanga City, a few days before his arrest in Malaysia.
Dureza allayed fears that the reconstitution of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) will be delayed while Misuari’s case has not been settled.
Not in the way
“The pendency of the case against Misuari is not in the way” of composing the BTC, he said.
The all-Moro body, which will still be composed of 15 members, eight nominated by the MILF and seven by the government, will draft the proposed enabling law with representation from the “MILF, MNLF, the ARMM and other Bangsamoro representatives.”
In choosing the seven nominees of government, Dureza said “we will first consult with Nur et al on composition from his side. ARMM and Lumad din.”
The reconstituted BTCwill be tasked to draft a new basic law for the Bangsamoro from the convergence of the provisions of the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the 1996 Final Peace Agreement (FPA) with the MNLF, “including relevant provisions of the Republic Act 9054 ( the ARMM law ) and the Indigenous People’s Rights Acts (IPRA) of the IPs.”
“Work on the new proposed Bangsamoro enabling law will be done simultaneous with the moves to shift to a federal setup, the latter expected to come later under the planned time line,” a press release from Dureza’s office said.
“The reconstituted and inclusive BTC will also be mandated to propose amendments to the Philippine Constitution that are pertinent to the Bangsamoro as inputs towards eventual federalism in the land,” it said. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)