Palace: Nothing wrong with Duterte calling court to let Misuari travel abroad
MANILA, Philippines – There was nothing wrong about President Rodrigo Duterte calling and asking the court to allow Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) leader Nur Misuari, who is facing several legal cases from the government, to travel abroad.
This was the position of Malacañang after Duterte revealed in a speech late Sunday night that he called authorities, particularly the court, to allow Misuari to travel abroad.
Misuari is facing rebellion charges for the 2013 Zamboanga siege and is on trial before the Sandiganbayan for graft and malversation for the allegedly anomalous purchase of P77.26 million worth of “ghost textbooks” when he was still governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
“The President, as head of state, is mandated to preserve, and protect, and to serve the people,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a Palace briefing on Monday.
“Kung ang problema doon sa Mindanao ay nakasalalay sa isang tao kagaya ni Misuari na napakalaki ng impluwensiya at malaking grupo na maaaring magkaroon ng sigalot. tungkulin ni Presidente lahat ng kanyang makakaya – persuasion – na tulungan. Na kung ‘yung pagbibigay ng laya temporarily kay Misuari ay makakatulong, palagay ko, tungkulin ng Presidente na ipaalam sa hukuman na makakatulong itong taong ‘to,” Panelo added.
When told that Duterte specifically mentioned that he called the court, Panelo clarified that it might not be the President who specifically called the court.
The Sandiganbayan third division on February 26 granted Misuari’s plea and allowed him to travel overseas. This came a day after Duterte, Misuari, and some Cabinet officials met in Malacañang.
“Baka hindi siya mismo ang tumawag. Baka ang ibig niyang sabihin eh… Ah, hindi kung minsan ‘pag sinabi mong ako, pwede namang ibang tao,” he said.
“What he is saying is ang posisyon niya diyan, mas gusto niyang makalabas si Misuari para pagbalik, maayos na ang problema sa Mindanao,” he added.
When asked if this was not interference on the judiciary, Panelo said it was “persuasion” and not interference.
“I don’t think so. Kung persuasion lang naman. Saka isa pa, I don’t think the court will allow itself to be coerced or intimidated by any person in this country,” he said. /kga
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