THE real name of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chief negotiator Mahagher Iqbal is Datucan Abas, according to Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano.
Cayetano, in making the revelation, said the issue is not about Iqbal’s identity but trust, and that the government has the right to know if they are talking to the right person.
The identities of those who are in the military, like the National Democratic Front (NDF), New People’s Army are kept secret because there’s no negotiation with them yet. But the chief negotiator of the MILF should have full disclosure because he is the one seen in public,’’ Cayetano said in a television interview aired over ANC.
He showed various documents stating Iqbal’s real name which the latter refused to divulge during the hearing of the Senate committee on local government on Monday.
The senator said the name Datucan Abas can be seen in the circular issued by the Department of Interior Local Government (DILG) and issuances of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) in 2003.
Iqbal’s real name can also be found in his records at Manuel L. Quezon University (MLQU) where he graduated in 1969.
There is also a warrant of arrest issued against Iqbal in relation with his supposed involvement in the bombing of Sasa Wharf in Davao in 2003, indicating his real name.
Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and other members of the Senate local government committee, tried but failed to convince the MILF official to reveal his true identity during the resumption of the committee hearing on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law.
The lawmakers insisted that while the real identity of Iqbal is not a big issue, it has a significant effect on confidence-building which is one of the most difficult tasks in brokering peace.