Murad-Aquino meet betrayed Bangsamoro people, says renegade commander


MAGUINDANAO, Philippines—For Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters leader Ameril Umbra Kato, the recent meeting between Moro Islamic Liberation Front chairman Murad Ebrahim and President Benigno Aquino III in Japan only doomed the aspirations of the Bangsamoro people and their longtime struggle for self-determination.

Kato formed the BIFF after he resigned from the MILF in January. He has been wanted for launching attacks on civilian villages in Central Mindanao in 2008 after the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional the still unsigned Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) between the government and the rebel group.

Kato, who met with journalists in Maguindanao Tuesday afternoon in his enclave, Camp Omar, said the meeting showed how the MILF Central Committee betrayed the Bangsamoro people.And this betrayal, he said, was courtesy of Murad himself.

“We consider Hadji Murad as the one who corrupted the rights of the Bangsamoro people, the one who corrupted justice. Why? In an organization, a leader is supposed to consult his members first before coming up with a decision. In this case, he made a decision all by himself, without the knowledge of the Bangsamoro people,” Kato said.

For Murad to meet the President discreetly, he said, was an act of “surrender.“ What does a meeting of two warring groups mean? And they even embraced? Does that not mean to say that the problem is already solved?” he said.

As for the government, meeting with the MILF, he said, was really designed to embarrass the Central Committee to the Bangsamoro people.

“That was part of the [government’s] deception. A trick. Why? Because the President himself knows that it is impossible for the government to give in to the demand of the MILF for a sub-state. A sub-state under the present condition is unconstitutional and they will declare it unconstitutional just as what they did to the MOA-AD,” he said.

Mohagher Iqbal, chief negotiator of the MILF peace panel, when interviewed in Cotabato City, sounded dismissive.

“Embarrass the MILF? That depends on how we are holding our cards and playing them … The MILF is viewing the meeting in a positive light. Goodwill, not bad will,” Iqbal told journalists and members of civil society groups in Cotabato City during iftar or the evening meal break during Ramadan.

Asked if Kato and his statements mattered to the MILF, Iqbal gave mixed reactions.

“Hindi masyado malaki [Not too much] but he still affects the struggle, especially the peace talks,” he said.

Lawyer Mary Ann Arnado, secretary general of the Mindanao Peoples Caucus (MPC), said the statement of Kato balanced the extreme reactions that also came from a few from the side of the government.

“In any organization, there are those who really speak against the sentiments of the majority. They are those who articulate the extreme reactions. We have also heard the same extreme reactions from the government side—there are those who are saying that the meeting was an act of treason on the part of President Aquino,” she said.

She said the meeting apparently renewed confidence between the government and the MILF peace negotiators to fast track the peace process, something that is “trying to address the sentiments of the majority who are caught between the two positions.”

“That is why there are negotiations. But in the search for peace, you really cannot please everyone,” said Arnado.

What is important, however, she said, was that many Filipinos were hopeful that the “relationship” of the government and the MILF has provided hope for the people of Mindanao, particularly the Bangsamoro people who were always immediately affected by armed conflict, ending as perennial evacuees or internally displaced persons (IDPs).

What is more worth noting, she said, was the fact that the principals of the government and the MILF took their way out “in search for peace.”

“It was a risk and they have taken that risk. And [such] efforts—which are all geared at achieving a peaceful solution to the Mindanao problem deserved support from the people,” she said.

“These extreme sentiments are out to bring us again to a war scenario. Given the pulse of the people are hopeful, they only validate that the two parties are on the right track and that this reflects the sentiments of the people,” she added.

But Arnado said that the MILF must deal with Kato immediately, especially with the admission of Iqbal that the former field commander was a problem for the MILF.

On Tuesday night, Iqbal assured that a resolution to the issue of Kato was coming out soon, especially with the opening of the formal peace negotiations on August 22 in Kuala Lumpur.

The issue on Kato has been repeatedly raised by the government panel during the peace negotiations.

“We will face the issue squarely … we will confront the issue. A real decision on Kato will come at the right time … and we will do that,” he said.

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  • renato

    Who are Vice Chairman Ghazali Jaafar and the MILF central committee trying to fool?  The truth that these so called commanders are just a bunch of datus (and their private armies) who are more loyal to their clan than to this imaginary MILF.  The MILF is not like the the Philippine Army, despite its flaws, still follow some clear chain of command and loyalty to the constitution.  It is frustrating to see the Philippine government still negotiating with an MILF that may have a central committee but a vacuum underneath.  They have no full control of their so called commanders who are actually datus who would declare “redo” [revenge/retaliation] or some petty war against their fellow datus for some petty family grievances or clan dispute. These datus-commanders are not a bit different from the Ampatuans. Wake up Mr. President Aquino, and don’t be naive. Kung naging estudyante ka ni Fr. Ferriols, hanapin mo ang meron at huwag kang maging tanga.

  • Guest

    See? MNLF was given the ARMM. MILF is demanding for a moro substate. BIFF will fight for independence   of the same territory. This is kind of money-making by warrior people. I hope BIFF means Best Islamic Friends Forever.

  • Arcsolo

    Kato’s missing the point: there’s no final agreement yet; they’re still in the process of negotiations. probably Kato has a different agenda, a different objective – and he doesn’t share the sentiments of the majority.

  • Anonymous

    what betrayal is he talking about? it was all good intentions. they are just branding it as betrayal. they can brand it as much as they want but that is never the case!

  • Anonymous

    Those so called Moro leaders kept on betraying their fellow Moros. Like a typical Filipino politicians, they just keep their self interest intact.

    What peace and independence are you talking about? You won’t utter those words again if you were offered a billion pesos.

  • Anonymous

    This is good. nagaaway away na sila.

  • Anonymous

    Definitely Kato has his own self interest agenda…since the beginning. That is why he broke away from the main group.

    • Ryan Prayer Jabez

      parepareho lang din naman sila laht eh.. its not the welfare of the muslim filipinos ang nais nila.. coz if they do.. makikita din naman eh without even asking it..or showing it… di bulag mga kapwa pilipino nyo bro…  hm.. with the way they act.. it only shows what they are after is power… land grabbing.. from each other mismo ha.. labas muna ang gobyerno ha…. obviously parang di mga muslim.. infact i have talk with some muslims.. and yet they are not warfreak as they have showned (MILF,BIFF, ETC) if this is the case in mindanao hm.. palagay nyo kaya granting a bangsamoro sub-state would solve the problem in mindanao? hm.. i bet not.. only the sillies of the silliest would let that pass just like that.. if ever they would be granted.. hm.. parang pinirmahan narin nating mga kapwa pilipino ang death sentence ng mindanao.. mahal po natin ang mga muslim nating mga kababayan.. gusto natin ang ang kanilang kaunlaran.. but greed must be ruled out 1st.. nagagalit sila sa mga ng abuso sa knila.. ang tanung sila ba ay di nang aabuso sa kapwa nila? i just don’t get the point … di ako  mag tataka why Joseph  Estrada ruled out an all out war sa mindanao… dahil din sa unreasonable na demands… eto pa ang isa.. hm.. saang side ba ang mga ampatuan na andyan pa? hm.. isn’t it strange.. i feel that somebody is behind even with this turmoil in minadanao… who could that be.. no offense to the US..  pero yung CIA  baka may kinalaman dito? palagay nyo?come to think huh… nag silabasan na nag mga natural reserves ng bansa natin… hm… wala ba kayo napapansin sa mga ngyayre… i hope am wrong… but if my suspicion is right.. hm… guys.. always be on alert.. wag po nating hayaan na ma biktima ulit ang mga kapwa nating mga muslim… in the middle of a hoax and scheme na di naman dapat pag sayangangan ng dugo…. sa sarile nating bansa…

  • joboni96

    pakingan din si kato
    at alamin ang kanyang posisyon
    kung kaya sa konstitusyon
    at sa peace agreement
    di mabuti

    kung tuloy pa rin
    sa armadong paglaban pagkatapos
    all out police action na
    laban sa kanya
    hopefully with the
    new bangsa moro police force

  • Robert

    If our brother muslims want peace with our government, they should settle first their differences from different factions, there should be one voice.. There would be no peace if we simultaneously talk.. Mag kaisa muna kayo mga kapatid, mahirap mag peace talk tapos kayo-kayo nga na mga kapwa Muslims and hindi nagkakaunawaan… mahirap yan, malabo ang usapan… please lang magkaisa na tayong lahat para naman sa ating bayan, lahat naman tayo iisa lng din “Pilipino”..

  • Minda Now

    This is an interesting development.


  • Agyang Dirit

    Go ahead, kill one another out of jealousy!
    Ganyan naman kayong mga muslim- NO SATISFACTION !
    Gulo dito Gulo Doon!
    “where muslim are where trouble begins”

    Kumain kayo ng MILA’S LECHON with Mang Tomas sarsa…
    Sa SARAP….makakalimutan ninyo ang  pagka-muslim ninyo !!!


  • Anonymous

    This makes the peace talk in serious jeopardy. A sub-state is not even acceptable to majority of mindanaons much more w/ BIFF factor.

  • Anonymous

    with how these so called “Muslims” behave i think they don’t deserve a negotiation. I think we are talking to the wrong Muslims…or better yet the wrong Mindanaoans…let go back to Plan A…

  • Anonymous

    MNLF -> MILF -> BIFF -> ……

    Abangan ang susunod na breakaway group….

  • Anonymous

    Nagpapatunay na ang mga muslim ay Pilipino, hindi magkasundo, inggitan, naghihilaan pababa.  Medyo radical lang dahil nagpapatayan with heavy arms.  I am still optimistic that eventually there will be peace with the moderate muslims.

  • Anonymous

    This Umbra Kato was the one who randomly kill civilians in one of our community in Mindanao…Scary tactics of criminal mind.  Koran don’t teach those but why are they doing it?  Filipinos are god fearing people and now we have this radicals.  Muslims are good people too and why are they like that?  These group of pirates are not Muslim..They are criminals that of course violate our constitution and want to follow their babaric laws.

    The government should not even pay attention to their cause but rather wipe them out.  Let’s create a core group composed of Muslims volunteer combined it with other religious group then fight against them..I amsure the vigilante will prosper.  

    The only reason why they become big and ultimately become an underground MAFIA is because of our corrupt Armed Forces and government officials…They make money out of war.  If there’s peace, our Generals won’t have a reason to buy more guns and wonder there’s even incidents that these radicals are using guns and ammo issued to our armed forces and even come to think of what the corrupt government did with the Ampatuans? 

    That’s how civilized we are so far as treating Muslims is concern.   Only few benefitted from it and these few grew like a monster.  Government should seriously punish those who committed plunder – put them to death chamber or firing squad..they are the worst including the corporate criminals. Our problem is that – we just fire them and even just slap on their hands…Let’s do what other country is doing ..ones you got caught, sentence them to death.

    No wonder also why there are lots of volunteer to be a negotiator when there’s kidnapping etc……LET’S WAKE UP TO REALITY.  Let’s not baby sit them.  Let them feel that our law is the law of the land.

  • Jesus Manggaran

    muslims are the roots of all evils…they need to be wiped-out in this world…AS SOON AS POSSIBLE…next are the CHINESE, RUSSIANS AND NORTH KOREANS…then we can have a better place to live in…

  • Anonymous

    bottom line is they dont deserve a substate

  • Gary M

    Hindi na dapat binigiyan ng mga Media mileage yang mga yan e.  Kung may papansin, yung mga spinter group ay lalago talaga.  Minsan ang media ang may problema.

  • Biostat

    Alam ko sa chemistry, yong substrate sa chemical reaction ay magiging chemical product. hehehe.

  • Anonymous

    Hirap talaga makipag kasundo sa mga yan, kahit sila mismo di mag kaisa, kung wala na silang kristiyanong kalaban sila sila mag papatayan.

  • ✩ Chise Rosario ✩

    Tsk tsk tsk. Sometimes, media creates the monsters that butcher and devour us.  

  • Patrick

    So let’s say the government reaches a peace agreement with the MILF, now there’s another group, the BIFF who will take over as the new threat in Mindanao. So is the next step to find and formulate a peace agreement with them? It feels like we are stuck perpetual cycle of war, ceasefires and failed peace negotiations.

    What’s really the point? The peace process has become a money pit that just sucks all of our resources away. How can you make peace last when there will always be a perpetual cycle of insurgents arrogant enough to take on the AFP? 

    Our government (1) must pull out a lot of its resources into developing the economy in Mindanao to win the hearts and minds of our brothers and sisters over there so that they wouldn’t even consider joining
    and/or supporting the insurgency. (2) We must consider diplomatic sanctions against Malaysia and Indonesia for their tacit support of these rebels. Their actions are directly interfering with the affairs and peace of the Philippine State and this cannot be permitted. 

    Mindanao has become the Philippine’s “Vietnam and Afghanistan.” This is so shameful since Mindanao is our own backyard and not some country in a foreign land to be conquered. The government needs to figure  this out or more generations of Mindanao citizens will never know the meaning of the word peace.

  • Agyang Dirit

    Ameril Umbra KATO(k) just broke away from MILF (who broke away from MNLF) & this BANGSAMORONS want to make PANSIN too.
    And if the Govt will negotiate with this group, one of his men (Abdul Jackul)
    also break away from Bangsa will create name MoreMorons,
    ……………then comes Ali Al-Tamoud…. will break away from
    MoreMorons will create name UltimateMorons…..etc… etc.. it will
    never ends!

  • Anonymous

    wala talagang mangyayari sa PEACE talk na yan.. dahil ang AIam ng Moros is to conquer the world.. dahan dahan.. lang yan.. pag bigyan mo yan ng substate? lahat ng non musliim sa mindanao for sure will be harrased unless will convert  their religion to slam.  DAPT kasi  tugisin na yan.. wag payagan mag bitbit ng ARMAS. lansagin ang armadong grupo nila.. BAKIT PINAPAYAGAN mag dala ng armas angmga yan?

  • Anonymous

    Why this problem has persistently confronted us is simply because in our efforts to find peace, we surrender part of our sovereign stand as ONE strong country to a group of rebels that really does not know how to manage their own affairs as a people.  They were given that chance by creating the ARMM but they still insist on something much more irritating the way a spoiled brat would demand from the patience of a loving parent!  Try giving this brat spanking for a change! And for crying out loud, why does the Philippine government has to ask for help from other muslim countries to mediate peace talks with these muslim groups in Mindanao.  Even a grade school toddler could see the disproportionate balance of this situation because those are muslim countries that follow the present trend of a delusional muslim creed of world domination as spawned by the Al Qaeda movement a while back.  It is just so obvious not to see this!  How can the Philippine Republic get an impartial verdict knowing they are against a biased group?  Insane!  Get a sledge hammer and crack the nut! Then see peace in its real grandeur!

    • Agyang Dirit

      and when these nuts CRACKED,  feed them to the HOGS !!!!

      • Anonymous

        Nicely put!


  • Anonymous

    After MNLF, here comes the MILF. After MILF, here comes BIFF. Are you kidding us muslim brothers? I think your cause is not for the Bangsamoro people but only for yourself. Nagseselos lang naman itong BIFF na ito sa mga leader ng MILF kasi once nasa side na ng Philippine government ang MILF, all the comfort and luxury in life will be provided for. Samantala ang mga foot soldiers nila, mananatiling foot soldiers pa rin. Kaya never ending talaga itong problema sa muslim area ng Mindanao. As long as may bagong leader at may may bagong faction itong mga muslim na ito, forever talaga silang mag-struggle….not for their people but para sa sarili nila bilang isang bagong leader. It’s all about money/greed. Sa totoo lang, wala namang income itong mga rebelde na ito. Papaano kaya nila masustentuhan ang mga member nila? Kaya pag may mga kidnappings or robbery na nangyayari sa Mindanao, alam nyo na kaagad kung sino ang mga suspects.

  • Arnel Jolo


  • json8

    Kato thinks this is surrender on the part of the the MI.. and of course there are people who say PNOY is showing weakness by meeting with Murad…hay naku you can never please everybody

  • Anonymous

    this terrorist needs to be crushed before he can cause any more harm…

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