MANILA (Mabuhay) — Malacañang reminded on Tuesday both the Senate and the House of Representatives that fugitives Nur Misuari and Ameril Umbra Kato are not the only sources of inputs for the Bangsamoro bill.
At a press briefing, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said there is a “wealth of other stakeholders” who can give their views on the proposed law.
“At least to our mind, there are many other stakeholders that will come forward to discuss the merits of the draft that has been submitted,” Valte said when asked if the Palace finds it necessary to invite Misuari and Umbra Kato to congressional hearings on the Bangsamoro bill.
Earlier, Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, chairman of the House ad hoc committee on the Bangsamoro Basic Law, said his panel will ask the Department of Justice to suspend Misuari’s and Umbra Kato’s arrest warrants for three days to enable them to join hearings on the measure.
Last week, Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, chairman of the Senate local government committee which will deliberate on the Bangsamoro bill, said that he is considering the suspension of Misuari’s arrest warrant to enable the founding chairman Moro National Liberation Front to attend hearings on the measure.
Misuari is facing rebellion charges for his alleged involvoment in Zamboanga City siege last year, which left nearly 200 people killed.
On the other hand, Umbra Kato is wanted over charges of murder and arson in connection with the 2008 attacks he led against military and civilian targets in Central Mindanao. He is the leader of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), a breakaway group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
At the same press briefing, Valte reminded Congress members that suspensions of arrest warrants are up to the courts.
“A motion to hold in abeyance the validity or the life of a warrant of arrest is a question that is subject to a court’s judgment. Hindi po kami ang may desisyon kung dapat isuspend o hindi,” the Palace official said.
“While implementation is with the executive, hindi po namin pwede labagin kung ano ang nakalagay sa warrant. The only entity that can put a hold on its effectivity is the court,” she added.
Last Wednesday, President Benigno Aquino III personally turned over the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law, which seeks to create a new political entity to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
The proposed law will embody the comprehensive peace deal signed by the Philippine goverment and the MILF last March, which seeks to end the decades-old conflict in Mindanao. (MNS)