Otso Diretso bets pay tribute to MILF’s Jaafar
MANILA, Philippines — Otso Diretso candidates Samira Gutoc and Erin Tañada paid tribute to Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) First Vice Chair Ghadzali Jaafar who passed away early Wednesday morning.
In a press briefing at the Liberal Party headquarters in Cubao, Quezon City, Gutoc turned emotional after thanking Jaafar, who was instrumental in urging her to run for the 2019 senatorial elections.
“On behalf of the one-tenth population of the country, Bangsamoro Muslim Filipinos, ako po ay nagbibigay ng condolences po sa Bangsamoro (I would like to extend condolences to the Bangsamoro), because he is the chairman of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) that drafted the BOL (Bangsamoro Organic Law),” she said.
“Bilang isang (dating) miyembro ng central committee, haligi po si Jaafar […] ako po ay nagpupugay kay MILF Vice Chairman Jaafar,” she added.
(As a former member of the central committee, I can say that Jaafar is a pillar […] I salute MILF Vice Chairman Jaafar.)
Prior to her decision to join the senatorial race, Gutoc was a member of the now-defunct BTC, which Jaafar headed. Gutoc resigned after President Rodrigo Duterte made rape jokes and after the government’s slow response to the Marawi crisis.
“I am Otso Diretso but I am also Bangsamoro. Samira Gutoc ay nandito po dahil sa Bangsamoro as well (Samira Gutoc is here because of the Bangsamoro),” she noted.
Former Deputy Speaker Tañad, on the other hand, hailed Jaafar as a “man of integrity,” and a “great fighter for Muslim rights and a peaceful nation.”
“We extend our condolences to the family of BTC chairman Gadzhali Jaafar, the leaders and members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, and the Moro people whom he selflessly served all his life,” Tañada said.
“May your passing spark an unceasing commitment to pursue the path to peace, just and prosperous future for Muslims in Mindanao and the entire nation,” he added.
The 75-year-old Jaafar was reported to have died of natural causes. Prior to this, he underwent a heart bypass and was supposed to be assigned as interim speaker of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) regional parliament.
He also used to be the spokesperson and political officer of the MILF.
He, along with Al Haj Murad Ebrahim and Mohaquer Iqbal, joined Ustadz Salamat Hashim in leaving the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) due to differences with MNLF chair Nur Misuari. /ee
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