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3 MNLF factions agree to re-unite with Misuari as leader

/ 05:46 PM June 26, 2014

A peace talk between Philippine government and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) is held at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Jan. 22, 2014. Philippine senators said on Wednesday, Jan. 29, that the government should not be distracted by fresh fighting in southern Philippines from forging a final peace agreement with Moro rebels. AP FILE PHOTO

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines—Three factions of the Moro National Liberation Front agreed to name founder Nur Misuari as their representative in future talks with the government to implement the 1996 peace agreement, and move as one in pursuit of peace and the Bangsamoro aspiration for self-governance.

During the June 11 to 12 meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, three factions of the MNLF – Habib Mudjahab Hashim’s MNLF Islamic Command Council (ICC), the Executive Committee of 15 led by Muslimin Sema and Nur Misuari’s group represented by lawyer Randolph Parcasio – signed an agreement to have “a unified, solid position toward efforts to arrive at a political, just and lasting peaceful solution” to the Bangsamoro problem.

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Hashim, in a phone interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer Thursday, said they also agreed to have Misuari as the group’s leader and representative in future dealings with other institutions and entities, including the Philippine government.

Misuari, however, has been in hiding since his men attacked Zamboanga City in September 2013. He will be represented by lawyer Randolph Parcasio.

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“We have discussed with MNLF senior leaders, together with the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation), the need to intervene and seek for the lifting of Misuari’s arrest warrant,” Hashim said.

The new group, in a statement Hashim sent to the Inquirer, said its factions have agreed on the “oneness of MNLF under the leadership of MNLF founding leader and Central Committee chair Nur Misuari.”

The statement was signed by Hashim, Sema, Parcasio, Ustadz Abdulbaki Abubakar, Jimmy Labawan, Abdul Jabbar Narra, Yahodza Simpal, Hatimil Hassan, Shakiruddin Bajin and Mashur Jundam.

Hashim said no formal talks have happened between the MNLF and the MILF, which has signed a Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro with the Philippine government.

“We just greet each other,” he said.

While the MILF recently signed a peace agreement with the Philippine government led by the Aquino administration, the MNLF has been complaining that the government failed to fully implement the provisions of the peace deal it signed in 1996. The MILF is a breakaway group of the MNLF.

In a text message, lawyer Emmanuel Fontanillas, who belongs to Misuari’s group, confirmed the unification.

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“Yes, they are now united and that is expected since he (Nur Misuari) is the originator of the modern struggle. Eventually, all fronts will unite under him,” Fontanillas said.

Misuari was not invited in the Jeddah meeting initiated by the OIC.  But Hashim said they were in constant contact with Misuari during the two-day meeting.

The MNLF senior leaders also agreed that Parcasio will be the spokesperson of the “MNLF Jeddah Formula.” Hashim expressed the group’s hope that the Department of Justice would review the cases filed against Misuari.

Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle Salazar said the lifting of the warrant of arrest against Misuari would be a matter for the Regional Trial Court in Taguig City to decide on.

“I believe that the Court will appreciate the merits of the case,” Salazar said.

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TAGS: Mindanao, MNLF, Moro National Liberation Front, Nur Misuari, peace process
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