MILF fires Kabalu; Kabalu admits lobbying for ARMM OIC post

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/25 June) —  The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has dismissed its civil-military affairs chief, Eid Kabalu, for allegedly violating its Code of Conduct, MILF vice chair for political affairs Ghazali Jaafar said.

Jaafar said Kabalu, without clearance from the MILF,  met with President Aquino’s allies — former North Cotabato Governor Emmanuel Pinol and Davao City Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte  — to lobby support for him to be made one of the nominees for OIC Governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Jaafar said that based on the resolution of the general staff,  the principle being followed is collective and consultative leadership “and Brother Eid has talked with two politicians from North Cotabato and Davao City without clearance from the generel staff. That’s a violation of the MILF rules based on General Order number one.

Kabalu admitted to MindaNews that he spoke with various groups, religious organizations and the two politicians but claimed that on June 22, a day before the MILF resolution came out, he had expressed he would resign from the post.

Kabalu acknowledged serving in the ARMM as an officer in charge would be an opportunity for others to show their capacity and ability to lead.

He said he will not pass off the chance if reforming the ARMM is entrusted to him.

Congress early this month passed a bill resetting the August 8, 2011 elections to May 13, 2013 and allowing President Aquino to appoint OICs in the interim. The bill will be signed into law by President Aquino on June 30.

At least 50 major posts are up for grabs in the ARMM – the 26 elective posts: governor, vice governor and 24 legislators; and Cabinet secretaries and heads of offices.

Kabalu said he considers resigning from his post in the MILF as a sacrifice. But he remains a member of the MILF, he said.

“I officially resigned sapagkat ang pangalan ko po ay na drag doon sa isyu ng OIC  ng ARMM, pagkat alam natin na taliwas iyon  sa polisiya ng MILF, and so decided to detach ourselves para hindi natin  magamit yung organization. Sa tingin natin we can be an agent of change and reforms” (I officially resigned my post because my name has been dragged in the OIC issue in the ARMM and we know that that is against the policy of the MILF so I decided to detach ourselves so that the organization will not be dragged into it. In my view, we can be an agent of change and reforms), he said.

Jaafar said it is against the policy of the MILF to meddle in the political affairs of the the ARMM especially since they do not see the ARMM as the answer to the Bangsamoro struggle and that they are not endorsing any member to be named OIC.

“Ang MILF ay tatanggapin lamang ang anumang solusyon sa problema sa Mindanao kung yun ay resulta ng negotiation ng MILF at GPH” (The MILF will accept solutions to the Mindanao problem only if it is a result of negotiations between the MILF and the GPH (Government of the Repulic of the Philippines).

The GPH and MILF peace panels will be holding their third formal exploratory talks in Kuala Lumpur on June 27 and 28. (Ferdinandh Cabrera/MindaNews)

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