The Palace won’t ask the Sandiganbayan to junk its arrest order against Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founder Nur Misuari, the Palace said Tuesday.
Misuari has a graft charge in connection with the purchase of P115.2 million worth of textbooks and other educational materials during his tenure as governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao in 2000 and 2001.
“The item is an administrative case; something that was taken up before the [peace]talks. The onus will be, at this point, will have to be with Mr. Misuari. The onus to defend himself will be with Mr. Misuari,” Abella said.
Misuari is facing charges of committing crimes against humanity and rebellion since he led a ragtag group of combatants during the Zamboanga City siege in September 2013, leaving at least 200 people dead and 10,000 homes destroyed.
Misuari and his comrades used civilians as human shields in protest of the peace agreement inked by the MNLF splinter group Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Philippine government during the previous administration.
When Duterte became President in June 2016, the Chief Executive ordered the police not to arrest Misuari for him to participate in the peace process—a move supported by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and the Department of Justice. The Pasay City Regional Trial Court eventually agreed to the Chief Executive’s proposal and held the implementation of the arrest warrant against Misuari in abeyance.
Abella, however, did not say if the fresh warrant of arrest against Misuari would affect the MNLF leader’s participation in the peace negotiations.
“I cannot say it will not have any effect, but at this stage, it will depend on how he will address the matter,” Abella added.
The Sandiganbayan on Tuesday found basis to try Misuari for graft and malversation over the alleged anomalous procurement of information technology package and education materials in 2001.