MANILA (Mabuhay) – The Senate local government committee is planning to invite founding Moro Nationali Liberation Front chairman Nur Misuari to hearings on the Bangsamoro bill.
But to be able to do this, the panel may seek the suspension of Misuari’s arrest warrant for rebellion charges, Senate committee chairman Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said on Wednesday.
“We are thinking, although he is still wanted and he has a warrant against him, we are thinking about a suspension of that to allow the chairman, Nur Misuari, to come and speak and give us his ideas,” Marcos told reporters in an interview in Malacañang.
He added that the MNLF’s inputs are “definitely” needed to make sure that Bangsamoro Basic Law will be fully implemented.
“Clearly, it will not succeed unless both MILF [Moro Islamic Liberation Front] and MNLF are part of the process,” Marcos said.
The senator further that the failed Zamboanga siege launched by Misuari’s followers last year was a clear indication that some MNLF members have “a feeling that they were left out of the process.”
Earlier in the day, President Benigno Aquino III submitted the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law to Congress leaders.
The event marked the first time Aquino personally oversaw the submission of a proposed law to Congress members. Other bills usually originate from lawmakers’ offices, and only get inputs from the executive during congressional hearings.
The legislation, which will embody the peace pact signed by the Philippine government and the MILF last March, seeks to create a new Bangsamoro political entity that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
In 1996, the Philippine government under the leadership of then-President Fidel Ramos signed a peace accord with the MNLF also seeking the creation of “new area of autonomy” to replace the ARMM.
Five years after the signing of the peace accord, however, Misuari launched a new rebellion in Mindanao after accusing the government of reneging on the peace pact. The MILF, a breakaway group of the MNLF, also waged war against the government despite the 1996 peace pact.
The government peace panel has repeatedly denied disregarding the MNLF in the peace talks. (MNS)