Palace to Islamic bloc: Nur Misuari a fugitive

Malacañang has publicly denounced Nur Misuari, founding chairman of the Moro National Liberation Front, as being the sole representative of the Bangsamoro people before the Organization of Islamic Conference.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Sonny Coloma said Misuari is a fugitive for masterminding the three-week hostage standoff in Zamboanga City that left more than a hundred people dead.

“We oppose any action on the part of Misuari that would convey any semblance of him being representative of the MNLF or the Bangsamoro people. Even the MNLF is not one in backing him up,” Coloma said.

Asked if the government will seek Misuari’s deportation in case he managed to slip out of the country to attend the OIC meeting, Coloma said there are existing protocols in bringing fugitives back.

OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu sent a letter of invitation to Misuari dated Nov. 24 for the Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in Conakry, Republic of Guinea from Dec. 9 to 11.

“The Government of the Republic of Guinea has indicated that it will extend hospitality to

head of delegation of your institution for the period from December 08 to 12, 2013,” read Ihsanoglu’s letter, a copy of which was obtained by Manila Standard.

In a text message from Kuala Lumpur, presidential peace adviser Teresita Deles said there are already efforts internal to the MNLF to have Misuari replaced as the sole representative of the Bangsamoro people before the OIC.

“We are aware that a large group of MNLF leaders met last weekend and proposed a roster of names to represent the MNLF in the tripartite process. This request has been officially communicated to the OIC-Peace Committee on the Southern Philippines,” Deles said.

“It is important to note that the roster of names submitted to the OIC did not include Misuari,” Deles added.

According to Alih Yacub, president of the Golden Crescent of Peace Builders and Affiliates, the OIC must not be blind and deaf to the plight of the people of Zamboanga City, who have yet to recover from the siege.

“The OIC will have blood on their hands if they continue to invite and acknowledge Misuari. It is like they approve of the attack and are romanticizing it,” Yacub said in a phone interview from Zamboanga City.

“What will he tell the OIC? That he did not commit the crime? That the deaths were just part of a myth?” he added.

The MNLF attacked Zamboanga City amid government efforts to end the review process on the 1996 final peace agreement, which the rebels interpreted to be a termination of the entire peace process.

Indonesia has already reiterated its committed to help the Philippine government end the tripartite review process.

Indonesia is the current chairman of the OIC-Peace Committee on the Southern Philippines which brokered the 1996 FPA and is facilitating the tripartite review process.

Apart from the termination of the review process, the MNLF also lamented that they have been left out of the peace process with the government focused on negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Misuari, however, was invited to join the Transition Commission that would draft the Bangsamoro Basic Law, but the latter declined.

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