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Moro leaders wary of Piñol as Duterte point man

DAVAO CITY, Davao del Sur, Philippines — Some Moro leaders who still remember the role Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol played in the junking of the memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain (MOA-AD) in 2008 are cautious about President Rodrigo Duterte’s plan to make him the government’s “point man” in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

Murad Ebrahim, the interim chief of the BARMM, however, said he would respect the President’s prerogative to choose the person he would want to represent him in the BARMM, instead of dwelling on the Moro people’s reaction to Piñol’s prospective appointment.

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Murad said they would focus their attention on the creation of the body that would function as the official link between the BARMM and the central government, particularly the Office of the President.

“[T]he reality is Manny Piñol is not popular among the Bangsamoro people, having been known in the past as principally and vocally against the struggle of the Bangsamoro,” Murad told the Inquirer in a text message on Monday.

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Petition spearhead

“This was further aggravated when he (Piñol) spearheaded the petition in the Supreme Court against the MOA-AD that would have been the first framework agreement to be signed between the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) and the government before it was struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court,” he added.

Sought for comment, Piñol simply replied, “I respect their views.”

Murad said the BARMM had not yet decided whether to take a stand on Piñol’s appointment.

He said BARMM officials wanted to push for the creation of the Intergovernmental Relations (IGR) Body under the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

“What we want to push is the immediate creation of the IGR because that is the one provided in the BOL as go-between [for] the central government, including the Office of the President, and BARMM,” Murad said.

Not provided by law

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“[The post of point man] to the BARMM is not provided by law but I think it is still the prerogative of the President as an extension of his supervisory function,” he added.

Some Moro leaders have taken to social media to express their objection to Piñol’s impending appointment.

“Piñol is not welcome among the Moro (people). He was once hated by the Moros for his role in the junking of MOA-AD in 2008,” said Drieza Lininding, chair of the Marawi-based Moro Consensus Group.

Maranao leader Samira Gutoc-Tomawis has also urged the President to reconsider his decision, saying Piñol is perceived by many Moro communities as anti-Moro.

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TAGS: Bangsamoro, BARMM, Emmanuel Piñol, Manny Piñol, Murad Ebrahim
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