Datu Abul Khayr Alonto is neither the leader of the Moro National Liberation Front at present nor the founding chairman of the MNLF, according to the vice chairman of the group’s Central Committee.
Jimmy Labawan on Wednesday said Nur Misuari is the founder of the MNLF and remains the leader of the group that for nearly half-a-century has fought for self-determination for the country’s Muslim minority that calls home Mindanao in southern Philippines.
Johnny Siao, the commanding general of the MNLF’s National Border Command, agreed.
Trained in Libya, Siao also on Wednesday said his forces and those in the group’s National Security Command do not recognize Alonto.
Labawan wondered why Rep. Rufus Rodriguez of Cagayan de Oro City (Misamis Oriental) was even talking with Alonto.
Rodriguez is the chairman of House Ad Hoc Committee on the Bangsamoro Basic Law that works with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) in a bid to find lasting peace in Mindanao.
Labawan chided the House committee and the OPAPP for putting up with Alonto.
Rodriguez’s initiative apparently was connected with the Aquino administration’s efforts to win the support of the MNLF for the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) that the government signed last year with another Muslim group—the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
The agreement looks up to the Bangsamoro Basic Law that in part would create a Bnagsamoro Region to replace the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao or ARMM.
The proposed law is pending in Congress.
While Labawan clarified that the MNLF has been backing the CAB between the Aquino administration and the MILF, he insisted that the government should first implement the September 2, 1996 peace agreement that the Ramos administration signed with Misuari.
He claimed that the CAB “violated” the Ramos-Misuari pact and “divided” Muslim groups in Mindanao.
Labawan said they are urging President Benigno Aquino 3rd to give priority to the scheduling of a tripartite review of the peace process in southern Philippines in order to rectify the government’s “mistake in jumping into another agreement with the MILF” to the prejudice of the 1996 peace agreement with the MNLF.