Nur warns GRP against signing peace pact with MILF

Misuari was not around during the opening session this afternoon of the Tripartite Meeting that would review that implementation of the 1996 Peace Agreement between the Philippine government and the MNLF, but made his presence felt through a 38-minute, 15-page speech he asked MILF spokesperson Al Tillah to read.

Misuari said that in a meeting with Datuk Othman Abd. Razak, chief political advisor of Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Abdullah Badawi, in his detention place in New Manila, Quezon City “sometime ago,” he “made mention” to Othman information “relayed to me by some earlier visitors about the impression of a senior American Embassy official, a certain Mr. Spephen Worrobeck, who opined that ‘any peace agreement that will be entered into in Kuala Lumpur between the GRP and the MILF will be illegal!”

Misuari was apparently referring to Stephen Worrobec, a political officer at the US Embassy.

Misuari said Worrobec’s “rationale for saying so, as subsequently disclosed to Father Eliseo Mercado, Jr.,” the former majority floor leader of the defunct Southern Philippines Council for Peace and Development (SPCPD) was through his researches and consultations with both international and domestic lawyers.

Worrobec and Mercado could not be reached for comment.

Misuari quoted Worrobec as saying, “It was the consensus of these jurists or legal luminaries, and I fully agree with them, that any peace agreement between the GRP and the MILF is illegal as it will tantamount to an imposition or super-imposition on a pre-existing inernational peace treaty agreement. Because any such GRP-MILF peace deal could only but invole the same people, the same territory, and the same administrative apparatus. This administrative apparatus can only be a mere autonomy no different in essence and substance with that already committed in the Tripoli Agreement of December 23, 1976 and the Jakarta-Manila Final Peace Agreement of September 2, 1996 to the MNLF!”

Misuari said Worrobec also noted that the peace agreements of 1976 and 1996 were “witnessed and guaranteed by no less than the OIC and its 57-member states.”

“Should the GRP choose to push through with this alleged plan to sign another peace agreement with a splinter group from the MNLF, then, the MNLF Leaership will be presented with a “do or die” option, so to speak,” Misuari said.

The GRP and MILF peace panels recently broke its 13-month impasse in the talks and are set to sign the agreement on ancestral domain before the end of this year.

The MILF had earlier rejected autonomy as proposed by the Philippine government. What it is negotiating for is a “Bangsamoro Juridical Entity” that will have as its core area, the present six-province, two-city ARMM – Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-tawi, Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur and Shariff Kabunsuan and the cities of Isabela and Marawi.

Mindanao has 27 provinces and 33 cities.

Misuari said government’s signing of  a peace agreement with the MILF will leave them no other choice but to “return back to the beaten path of self-determination, decolonization and independence of the Bangsamoro people and their homeland under the aegis of ‘Bangsomoro Republik.’

He spoke of “civilized Islamic warefare,” explaining that they will be guided by Allah and that since Islam is a religion of peace, “therefore the MNLF freedom fighters, with the entire Bangsamoro behind them, will never deviate from their solemn commitment and ardent aspiration to seek peace through the most peaceful means available — in line with the noble tradition of the civilized humanity everywhere.”

An OIC delegation sent to the Philippines last year and the Philippine government, however, signed a Joint Communique on May 22, 2006, agreeing to ensure that the gains in the GRP-MNLF peace agreement and the peace negotiation with the MILF “be made to converge to maximize and bring comprehensive peace and development for the Bangsamoro people.”

The OIC delegation, headed by Ambassador Sayed El-Masry, Adviser to the Secretary-General, was in the Philippines from May 17 to 22, to look into the implementation 1996 peace agreement it brokered. (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)

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