Gov’t denies lobbying for Aquino’s Nobel Peace Prize
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government on Sunday denied rumors that it is lobbying for President Benigno Aquino III’s nomination for a Nobel Peace Prize.
“I definitely confirm that I am NOT lobbying for (President Aquino’s) nomination for Nobel peace prize. I wouldn’t even know how to do it,” Secretary Teresita Deles, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) told Inquirer.net in a text message.
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) claimed they received credible information that Deles, during her visit to Norway, lobbied for the prestigious award.
“She and (Moro Islamic Liberation Front Chair Al Haj) Murad (Ebrahim) were reportedly in Norway recently to attend a peace conference after which they both went to Hiroshima to talk to [Aquino]. This info we got (from Norway-based parliamentarians and groups),” Bayan Secretary General Renato Reyes said.
In a forwarded text sent by Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., Deles confirmed she attended a forum in Oslo where she met Nobel Peace Prize laureates Kofi Annan and Tawakkol Karman.
She said she had always been invited to the said forum but had never met anyone from the nomination committee.
Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said, “During the Oslo Conference, Secretary Deles had occasion to meet Nobel Peace Prize winners but there are no lobbying efforts. But please note that since Aceh, there has been no significant peace accord reached. Hence, it is possible that there are groups who do wish to nominate the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB). But certainly, OPAPP is not lobbying for it.”
While the CAB had already been inked by the Philippine government and the MILF, its enacting law is still being studied by Malacañang.
Murad and Aquino met in Japan on Tuesday to discuss the draft of the Bangsamoro basic law.
Despite the denial, Reyes said they believe the alleged nomination was being timed for the State of the Nation Address in July.
“Aquino is highly unqualified for such an award,” he said.
The group claimed that human rights violations under Aquino’s watch resulted in 192 cases of extrajudicial killings and cases of enforced disappearances and illegal arrests.
“Aquino fosters regional instability and tension with his support for the US military pivot and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement that allows the return of US bases and weapons of mass destruction in the country, and through his unqualified support for the rise of Japanese militarism and revision of Japan’s Peace Constitution,” Reyes added.
He said the Bangsamoro peace pact was “deceptive” and has yet to be considered “sealed” pending the approval of Congress.
This is in addition to the stalled peace talks with the National Democratic Front.
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