DAVAO CITY: Public hearings on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) can do without Muslim rebel leaders Nur Misuari and Ameril Umbra Kato.
Secretary Teresita Deles, also Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, on Thursday night cited orders for the arrest of Misuari, founding chairman of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), and Kato, the leader of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
Deles, however, said she still believes that “discussion [on the proposed BBL]should be as inclusive as possible.”
Meanwhile, she added, they had given their views on the BBL, as well as on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, which was signed between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in March this year.
For me, whether they are able to [join the discussion does not matter because]you already know what their views are. Hindi naman nila tinatago yan [They are open about it]. They [Misuari and Kato] want independence. The BBL will not be able to give them independence. The BBL is about autonomy,” Deles said.
When asked if the presence of the two rebel leaders will be helpful to the passage of the proposed law, she replied, “It all depends on what you want.”
“But Misuari wants independence. How much clearer do you need to get with his position? The same thing with the BIFF. They separated from the MILF because they did not like it when the MILF agreed to negotiate autonomy [with the Philippine government],” Deles said.
She, however, disclosed that the government is in touch with some senior leaders of the MNLF who are willing to participate in the process, apparently referring to a faction of the MNLF that has distanced itself from Misuari.
“As far as Misuari’s position is concerned, there are many who are talking on his behalf,” Deles said.
She pointed to a statement of Habib Mujahab Hashim, MNLF chairman for the Islamic Command Council, who said the MNLF Misuari faction will not participate in the process even if invited.
But, Deles said, if anyone from the Misuari faction is willing to join in the process, he will not be stopped.