Iqbal nephew qualified–Palace
New Commissioner Sheriff Abbas is a seasoned civil servant qualified to sit in the Commission on Elections, Malacañang said on Saturday in defending the appointment made by President Benigno Aquino III amid insinuations it was influenced by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Abbas is said to be a nephew of MILF chief peace negotiator Mohagher Iqbal.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said “it was made known” to the Palace that Iqbal and Abbas were relatives in the course of the vetting conducted by the Malacañang search committee.
“But, obviously, what some people are trying to imply is that it was influenced by the MILF, which it was not, because you can see that Commissioner Abbas was already in government,” Valte said over Radyo ng Bayan.
Valte said Abbas was with the Civil Service Commission prior to his Comelec appointment.
“Most of his professional life has been spent in government,” Valte said.
The Palace also welcomed the MILF’s registration of its newly formed political party called the United Bangsamoro Justice Party (UBJP) with the Comelec.
“We want them to be part of society. Whether you get into government is something that your constituents will decide because we have free and democratic elections. But the fact that they are moving to put their organization under a political party for 2016 is better than to bear arms against the government,” Valte said.
“It’s a good sign that even if the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) has yet to be passed and is still being discussed in Congress, [the MILF] is moving to be part of the mainstream.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.