DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/ 28 April) – The founding chair of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) has sought, through his lawyer, an extension of his six-month temporary liberty beyond April 27, the day it was supposed to have lapsed.
Nabil Tan, Deputy Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and chair of the government’s Peace Implementing Panel in the peace process with the MNLF, told MindaNews the motion was filed on April 26 and the court has set a hearing on May 3 to decide on the motion.
Randolph Parcasio, chair of the MNLF-Misuari’s peace implementing panel has declined to answer questions on the motion to extend. “No comment sa ako ha,” he said on April 21. MindaNews repeatedly asked him but as of 5 p.m., April 28, he has sent no reply.
The court gave Misuari temporary liberty in October last year “to allow him to attend peace talk sessions with the government.”
Judge Ma. Rowena Modesto-San Pedro of the Pasig Regional Trial Court in Pasig City in an order dated October 27, 2017 granted the “motion to suspend proceedings and enforcement of warrants of arrest against Misuari” for a period of six months from October 27 or until April 27, “unless sooner lifted by the court.”
Warrants of arrest had been issued against Misuari and 59 others for rebellion and violation of Republic Act 9851 or the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide and other Crimes against Humanity following the September 2013 stand-off in Zamboanga City between his followers and government troops that left 137 persons dead, 251 injured and 118,889 of the city’s 807,000 population displaced, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council’s October 2, 2013 report.
The Department of Justice, the City of Zamboanga and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process made no objections to Misuari’s October 2016 motion to the court.
San Pedro said the Court “acknowledges that the matter of peace talks is exclusively within the realm of the Executive Department,” and that as manifested by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), it is a “top priority of the current administration.”
Misuari signed the December 23, 1976 Tripoli Agreement under the Marcos administration and the September 2, 1996 Final Peace Agreement (FPA) under the Ramos administration.
His faction did not participate in the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) which is tasked by the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to draft a Bangsamoro Basic Law that would pave the way for the creation of a new autonomous political entity called the Bangsamoro, to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), in accordance with the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) that both parties signed on March 27, 2014.
The 21-member commission has three representatives from the other MNLF factions.
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza set up a separate peace implementing panel for the MNLF-Misuari faction.
The governemnt and MNLF-Misuari panels have met informally at least four times but have yet to meet formally. They are supposed to call on President Duterte within the first half of May to begin their task of drafting a law to amend RA 9054, to strengthen the ARMM. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)