Pioneers of MNLF oust Nur Misuari | Inquirer News
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Pioneers of MNLF oust Nur Misuari

/ 12:08 AM March 19, 2014

AFP FILE PHOTO

DAVAO CITY, Philippines—Pioneers of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), spearheaded by MNLF vice chair Abul Khayr Alonto, have decided to reorganize the group and oust Nur Misuari, whom they have labeled as a leader who has veered away from the Bangsamoro dream.

In a one-page declaration of unity signed on March 3 but made public Tuesday at the commemoration of the Jabidah massacre in Corregidor, the members of the so-called  Freedom Fighters 90 (FF90) and the Freedom Fighters 300 (FF300)—the first two batches of what would comprise the MNLF in the 1970s—also installed Alonto as the new MNLF chair.

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A copy of the declaration was sent by e-mail to the Inquirer.

In reorganizing the MNLF with Alonto at its helm, the pioneers of the erstwhile rebel group said “Misuari veered away from the very principle that the group has sworn their lives [on].”

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Misuari abandoned MNLF principles, the Alonto group said, when he took part in the declaration of Sulu, Palawan and Sabah as an independent state that led to a standoff between the followers of the Sulu sultanate and Malaysian authorities.

Zamboanga attack

The group of Alonto also took Misuari to task for his role in the attack by his followers on Zamboanga City that led to a government siege that displaced thousands of residents. Misuari has been charged with rebellion for the Zamboanga attack.

Alonto’s group, which also included Hadji Hassan Cana and Salli Wali, Al Hussein Caluang and Hadji Mohammad Waqas of the FF90, said the reorganization had the blessing of the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), an influential group of Muslim countries.

They said Misuari’s recent actions were a deviation from the 1996 peace agreement between the MNLF and the government.

The charges against Misuari, the MNLF pioneers said, rendered him ineffective as MNLF leader and that by virtue of succession, Alonto had to be installed as new chair.

Alonto’s group also reiterated its support to the peace deal with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

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“We hereby call on all Moro Malay Muslims in the Philippines and all those concerned within and outside the would-be Bangsamoro territory, to please declare unity with the MILF,” the group said.

Emmanuel Fontanilla, Misuari’s legal counsel and spokesperson, dismissed the meeting of pioneer MNLF members and their decision to oust Misuari as a government ploy to further divide Misuari’s followers.

He said that as of Tuesday, Misuari was still officially MNLF chair.

Divide and rule

“This is a divide-and-rule scheme of the government,” Fontanilla said in a phone interview.

He accused the group of Alonto of conniving with the government “to secure their positions and power in the new (Bangsamoro) political entity.”

“If we recall our history, these people have surrendered to Marcos in exchange for government projects. Most of them are from big political clans and are in power for years,” Fontanilla said.

Fontanilla said even the claim of the Alonto group that the OIC had recognized them was not true as well.

He said the new secretary general of the OIC visited Misuari “just two weeks ago.” Reports from Allan Nawal, Inquirer Mindanao

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