On May 17 to 18, the Libyan government initiated a "unity meeting" among the fractious MNLF in Tripoli, Libya.Misuari, out on bail since April 25, did not go to Libya but sent two representatives – his spiritual Adviser Shariff Zain Jali and Samsula Adju of Sulu.
Leaders of various alliances from among the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) met in Tripoli, Libya, on May 18 with an agreement among the MNLF to "form a transition leadership and unification committee" that would include Nur Misuari.
Misuari, who is still facing charges of rebellion but was freed on bail late last month, was not present in the Libya meeting but sent two representatives — his spiritual adviser Ustadz Shariff Zain Jali and Prof. Samsula Adju of Sulu.
But Jali and Adju, officials of MIsuari's MNLF says, were "not authorize" to sign that Declaration forming a committee a transition leaders and unification committee which will be composed of Misuari, Cotabato City Mayor Muslimin Sema, Dr. Parouk Hussni, Mujahab Hashim, Isnaji Alvarez and Sulu-Basilan Rep. Yusop-Jikiri.
Misuari and Hussin were former governors of the ARMM, Misuari serving from September 1996 to his arrest in Sabah in November 2001, and Hussin from January 2002 to September 30, 2005.
Last month, Misuari was reportedly ousted as MNLF chair again and replaced by Sema who was Misuari's secretary-general from the 1990s until 2001.
Sema and other MNLF officials bolted the mainstream MNLF in April 2001. Among those with Sema were Hatimil Hassan, then Misuari's vice chair, Parouk Hussin, chair of the Committee on International Affairs and other Central Committee members.
Misuari's group, on the other hand, elected Jimmy Labawan as Hassan's replacement and Murshi Ibrahim replaced Sema.During the 2nd Peace Summit of the Misuari-led MNLF last May 23-24, Atty. Randolph Parcasio was elected chair of the Committee on International Affairs, filling the vacuum that was vacated by Hussin. Parcasio is also chief legal counsel of the MNLF.
In an interview, Ibrahim admitted that Prof. Samsula Adju and Ustadz Shariff Zain Jali were official representatives of the MNLF during the May 17-18 unity meeting in Libya, but stressed that they two were not authorized to sign any document on behalf of the Front."We sent our two representatives because we were made to believe it was a dialogue. We did not expect the signing (of the Declaration)," Ibrahim said.
He explained that the rules governing the MNLF require that "major issues like that (Declaration) needs to be decided by the majority. Since only two persons decided on it, it could not be construed as an official act of the MNLF."
But had they been consulted, they could have honored the 13-point declaration. "We could not honor it because we were not consulted," Ibrahim said."We are always for unity, but to with whom will we unite is a different question. If we unite, we have to discuss it among ourselves —we need no other nation to unite ourselves," he said.
The Declaration has formed a "transition leadership and unification committee" which includes Misuari and is tasked to "reach consensus and final agreement to resolve issues of contention among the MNLF groups with the noble aim of achieving unification, reconciliation and solidarity."It also said that the Committee "is the sole legitimate body of the MNLF and the only one authorized to enter into any negotiation and agreement" and agree on "appropriate way of resolving (the) leadership crisis through democratic process before the end of June 2008."
The Transition Committee is also tasked to convene the "Bangsamoro people's congress that shall finally decide on the issue of leadership" of the MNLF before the end of August.A Tripartite Committee of representatives of MNLF, government and the Organization of Islamic Conference has been reviewing the provisions of the 1996 peace accord that Misuari forged with the government under then President Fidel Ramos, a former Armed Forces chief of staff.
The review was set to identify what of the provisions of the accord have already been implemented and those that are yet to be realized.They also called on the government to reactivate the Joint Monitoring Team tasked under the September 2, 2006 Final Peace Agreement to monitor the implementation of the provisions of the accord and asked the Arroyo Administration to involve them in the peace negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. (Romy B. Elusfa/MindaNews)