MANILA (Mabuhay) – Senator Teofisto Guingona III defended Monday Moro Islamic Liberation Front chief peace negotiator Mohagher Iqbal’s refusal to reveal his real name.
During the resumption of the Senate hearing on the Bangsamoro Basic Law, Guingona said the anti-alias laws of the country cannot be applied or will be impossible to apply to the MILF because it is a revolutionary group which is not under the Philippine government.
“The concept of use of alias can be only charged against them once they are physically arrested, conceptually they are not under the law dahil rebelde sila at hindi kinikilala ang batas,” he said.
“It is not proper to look at this issue on Iqbal having an alias as a legal problem because we cannot look at it using the eyeglasses of the law. It is not a legal issue, it is bigger than legal, it is political,” he added.
He further said that the lawmakers should take into consideration the culture in Muslim Mindanao in asking for Iqbal’s real name.
“Kailangang kilalanin ang kultura down south. Kung magkasala ka sa isang tao lalo na kung sa honor ng tao, babalikan ka at hindi sa pamamagitan ng pag-file ng kaso sa regional trial court kundi babawian ka. At kung hindi ka mahanap, iyong pamilya mo ang hahanapin at babalikan. Kung hindi makita ang pamilya mo, iyong clan mo ang hahanapin at babalikan. Iyon ang ibig sabihin ng security issue,” he said.
Guingona said he does not see any problem with Iqbal using an alias as long as he fulfill his promise that he would reveal his true identity once the Bangsamoro Basic Law is passed and the situation in Mindanao has normalized.
“Once the final end is achieved, they will form part of the state and they will submit to the laws of the republic. He did promise to reveal his name. What is the ending? The MILF will be part of the state, will follow the law of the state as Iqbal has promised,” he said.
Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr said they recognize that the legal issue is secondary but the main concern is confidence.
“It does not help that we cannot even get the true identity of the MILF peace panel chair. It is not a legal impediment but there is an impediment in the case of confidence,” he said. (MNS)