DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 29 September ) – Nur Misuari, founding chair of the Moro National Liberaiton Front (MNLF) and presently classified as a fugitive will soon be facing graft and malversation charges filed by the Office of the Ombudsman for alleged “anomalous procurement” of PhP 137.5 million worth of education materials in 2000 and 2001 while serving as Governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, according to a press release from the Office of the Ombudsman on Thursday, has approved the filing of information for graft and malversation against former ARMM Governor Misuari “for the anomalous procurement of education materials totaling 137.5 million undertaken in 2000 to 2001.”
Based on the findings of the Commission on Audit (COA), “it was found that the payment to five suppliers of textbooks and education materials totaling PhP137,511.108.14 were irregular and made without public bidding.”
Misuari is presently classified as a fugitive. He has a pending warrant of arrest for rebellion and violation of RA 9851 or the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide and other Crimes against Humanity. These charges were filed against him following the September 2013 stand-off in Zamboanga City between his followers and government troops that left 104 persons dead, 192 injured and110,000 of its 807,000 population displaced.
Misuari signed with the Philippine government the 1976 Tripoli Agreement and the 1996 Final Peace Agreement.
Twenty years after the signing of the peace pact, however, the MNLF says the agreement has not been fully implemented.
President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly said he wants to meet with Misuari as he intends to honor all peace agreements.
But Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza told the Malacanang Press Corps on July 19 that the Duterte administration will officially deal with Misuari only when the effects of the warrants of arrest he is facing are suspended.
But Dureza said their communication lines with Misuari are open and that Duterte even phoned Misuari the night before, after he approved the peace roadmap.
“We cannot yet deal with him officially because technically, he is still a fugitive,” Dureza said.
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.
The effects of the warrant of arrest have not been suspended.
Misuari figured prominently on September 17 and 18 when the Norwegian kidnap victim, Kjartan Sekkingstad, was freed after a year in the hands of the Abu Sayyaf. Sekkingstad was turned over to Misuari.
Dureza met with Misuari on September 18 in Sulu to fetch the Norwegian kidnap victim and present him to President Dutere in Davao City that evening.(MindaNews)