Malacañang on Tuesday vowed to look into reports that Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chairman Nur Misuari has fled the country despite having a cancelled passport.
In an interview, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said that they would ask the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to confirm if Misuari has already left the Philippines.
Unconfirmed reports said that Misuari will attend the gathering of the Organization of Islamic Conference in Conakry, Guinea to bring a case against the Philippine government’s alleged human rights violation during the Zamboanga standoff.
Coloma said that the government is ready to make the necessary steps to address Misuari’s case but he insisted that the latter is still a fugitive.
“Since that is a violation of the cancellation of the passport, we will look into the circumstances sa paglabas niya sa bansa,” he said.
“As far as I know, noong na-issue ang warrant of arrest na sila rin naman nag-request dahil si [Justice] Secretary [Leila] de lima mismo ang nag-lead doon sa investigation sa Zamboanga ay sisiyasatin kung nagkaroon ba ng failure to detect pero ginagawa ang lahat para matunton ang circumstances na yan,” he added
Misuari has been placed on the BI’s lookout bulletin after the Department of Justice filed rebellion charges and charges for violations of international humanitarian laws against him, MNLF commander Habier Malik, and 63 others last October.
Misuari and Malik have pending warrants of arrest and are barred from leaving the Philippines.
Asked if the country will ask International Criminal Police Organization to arrest Misuari, Coloma said that the government will inquire first with concerned authorities.
“Tatanungin natin yung mga concerned agencies kung ano na ang nagawa nila dahil meron naman established protocols para diyan,” he said.
Meanwhile, BI officer in charge Commissioner Siegfred Mison said that aside from being in the BI derogatory database by virtue of a warrant of arrest issued by the court, any use of a canceled passport will not allow Misuari et. al to leave any port of exit of the country.
“The Department of Foreign Affairs has the ball now to inform all other countries that Misuari et .al no longer possess valid travel documents,” he said
“Countries may cause their deportation for being undocumented alien or have them extradited if applicable,” Mison added
Foreign Affairs spokesperson Raul Hernandez said that they already “informed our embassies and consulates general for their appropriate action.”
CATHERINE S. VALENTE