In the course of our advocacy efforts to strengthen grassroots participation in the GRP-MILF peace talks since  its formal resumption in 2001, our grassroots leaders have witnessed how Secretary Afable had remarkably fleshed out and concretized the President’s mandate on the primacy of the peace process in Mindanao.  This is evident from the cooperation and unprecedented support of the military in observing the ceasefire agreement in the conflict-affected areas.  To the credit of Secretary Afable, his leadership in the peace panel has been the embodiment of the President’s mandate on the primacy of the peace process.

Like any good soldier, Secretary Afable tendered his courtesy resignation which was probably the fastest one accepted by the President.  With this decision, the GRP-MILF peace talks is probably the first casualty in the politics of survival that this Administration is facing in the aftermath of the mid-term election.

The case of Afable reveals a stark inconsistency in the President’s policy on the primacy of the peace process.  Indeed, if this is the paramount policy, she could have fired first the known hawks in her Cabinet whose track record shows a deliberate defiance of this policy instead of penalizing Afable.

At this crucial stage in the negotiation with MILF, we appeal to the sense of vision and leadership of President Arroyo to give the necessary political back up that will bring the GRP-MILF peace talks to its final conclusion.   Let this be your greatest legacy and gift to the people of Mindanao.

As the Presidency cleans up the Cabinet with the courtesy resignations sortie, we urge President Arroyo to keep track on how each member of her cabinet has delivered her mandate on the primacy of the peace process.  If she uses that lens, our question remains regarding her acceptance of Afable’s courtesy resignation. Why?