President eyes Misuari as UAE emissary—Lorenzana
COTABATO CITY — President Duterte has been considering Nur Misuari, founder of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), who is facing a number of legal cases from the government, as “emissary” for the United Arab Emirates.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Wednesday Misuari’s possible appointment as emissary came about following Misuari’s visit in Malacanang on Monday, a day before his colleagues in the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) formally took over the reins of the Bangsamoro autonomous region government, amid some grumblings of discontent.
“It seems that he will be appointed as an emissary since we have events, issues there where he can be of help,” Lorenzana said.
He added that the President and Misuari also talked about Misuari’s trip to UAE and Morocco during the visit.
On Tuesday night, Misuari left for UAE to attend the 46th session of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers on March 1 and 2.
He will stay in UAE until March 11 before proceeding to Morocco to attend the 14th session of the Parliamentary Union of OIC member states in Rabat, Morocco, on March 13 and 14.
In 1996, the MNLF led by Misuari signed a peace pact with the government supposedly to initiate a mechanism that would bring about the full implementation of the 1976 agreement, which promised Moro autonomy to 13 provinces in Mindanao.
This did not come about as the government’s earlier resettlement program had changed the demographics of the 13 provinces, most of which had become predominantly Christian.
After signing the peace deal, Misuari won as governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao but was later blamed for failing to lift the area out of poverty despite millions of dollars poured into the region.
After leading the 21-day siege in Zamboanga City in 2013, Misuari went into hiding.
After President Duterte, who considered Misuari a “personal friend,” came to power in 2016, the court suspended Misuari’s arrest warrant on rebellion charges.
An arrest warrant on lesser graft charges was filed in September 2017. /lzb
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