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Mario J. Mallari

The Moro National Liberation Front yesterday branded as a “desperate move” the recent meeting between supposed leaders of the MNLF, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the powerful Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) to legitimize the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

Lawyer Emmanuel Fontanilla, spokesman of the MNLF faction of Chairman Nur Misuari, expressed belief that the meeting held last Nov. 13 somewhere in Makati City is part of the government’s ploy to legalize the BBL being pushed by the government of the Philippines and the MILF.
In an MILF editorial over its Web site, it claimed that the MNLF delegation has the blessing of Misuari.
But Fontanilla was quick to dismiss such claim, citing statement from MNLF political director Gapul Hadjirul.
“The political director, Gapul Hadjirul, of MNLF said that the meeting has no blessing from Maas (Misuari’s nickname),” Fontanilla told The Daily Tribune.
“The meeting is a scheme to legitimize the BBL which is unacceptable to the people of Mindanao. It’s a political ploy, a desperate move on the part of the government,” he added.
Fontanilla maintained that the BBL will suffer the fate of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MoA-AD) which was junked as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2008.
“Their BBL and the MoA-AD are the same, that’s the problem,” said Fontanilla.
“Their concept of the Constitution is asymmetrical which is not found in law books,” he added.
During the meeting, the MNLF was represented by lawyer Bong Parcasio, the spokesman of the MNLF delegation, Moslemin Sema, Hatimil Hassan, Habib Mujahab Hashim, Commander Narra, Abebakrin Lukman, and Abdul Sahrin.
“These personalities are already controlled by the government. They (government) created MNLF faction that can be controlled. The usual divide and conquer tactic,” said Fontanilla.
The MILF was represented by Mohagher Iqbal, Prof. Abhoud Syed Lingga, Abdulla Camlian, all three are members of the MILF peace panel; Sheikh Ibrahim Ali, Hussein Munoz, Jun Mantawil, all members of the MILF central leadership; lawyer Nazir Ynawat, Muhajirin Ali, and Masbod Gaima, the last two names composing, alongside Mantawil, the MILF secretariat to the Bangsamoro Coordination Forum (BCF).
“MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari and MILF Chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim were not physically present during the meeting, but both have given their blessings to their respective delegations,” the MILF said in its editorial.
The meeting, the MILF said, demonstrated the maturity of the leaders of both fronts to rise above personal and pure organizational considerations in favor of the common interests.
“Further, it also showcased the OIC’s continuing recognition and commitment to help the Bangsamoro people in the pursuit of their inherent and collective to self-determination,” the MILF said.
The meeting resulted in the signing of a final communique of the BCF which calls for the creation of the Executive Bureau of the BCF, which will hold office in Cotabato City. It is composed of three representatives each from the MNLF and MILF and one representative from the OIC. The bureau has the power to decide on matters when the BCF is not in session, but is required to report all its actions to the BCF in plenary.

Amid the recent spate of atrocities staged by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter (BIFF) in Central Mindanao, Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. went to Maguindanao to personally receive operational updates from military troops there.
Catapang, in his message to troops of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division , ordered for relentless military operation against the BIFF, which he branded as “spoilers of peace.”
“The BIFF are spoilers of the peace process. We will continuously conduct law enforcement operations against them,” said Catapang.
Catapang said that he wants to receive operational updates regarding recent spate of atrocities in Central Mindanao attributed to the BIFF, a breakaway faction of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front which is talking peace with the government.
The Army recorded a series of IED attacks and harassments against military outposts and civilian communities by the BIFF recently.
The attacks are believed to be diversionary tactics by the BIFF armed groups which are being pursued by combined elements of the Army and the police.
On Nov. 16, suspected BIFF members, led by a certain Commander Obetin, detonated an improvised bomb in a primary school in Kabacan, North Cotabato injuring 16 people and killing Monique Mentawil, 19.
Two days later at around 10 p.m., heavily-armed BIFF members led by Commander Abunawas attacked a Christian community in Sitio Lunok, Barangay Baliki in Midsayap, Maguindanao resulting in an intense firefight with villagers.
On Wednesday night, patrolling Army soldiers briefly clashed with BIFF members also in Barangay Baliki.
No one was reported hurt among the villagers or the soldiers. Traces of blood were found along the enemy’s escape route.

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Alan Purisima yesterday reiterated that he does not own a property in Talisay, Batangas as alleged by a television network.

Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor, PNP spokesman, said the PNP chief maintained that he has no knowledge of the 9.5-hectare property being linked to him.
“The chief PNP reiterates his previous statement that he denies any knowledge as to the acquisition or disposition of the said property,” Mayor said.
Mayor issued the statement in reaction to Sen. Grace Poe who called on Purisima to explain fully why his name was linked to the property.
In its earlier reports, ABS-CBN alleged that titles covering the 9.5-hectare property in Barangay Caloocan, Talisay were under the name of Purisima.
The network noted that the property was not included in Purisima’s statement of assets, liabilities and net worth.
According to the news report citing documents from the local registry, Purisima bought the property in 2007 from a certain Malabanan. The land was sub-divided into 11 lots of different sizes and also had 11 titles.
Purisima allegedly bought it for P2 million.
In October 2010, Purisima allegedly sold the property to one Mariano Villafuerte III for P4 million. The network said the property is still registered under Purisima’s name.
Mayor, on the other hand, said Purisima has already ordered the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group to investigate who is dragging the name of the PNP chief in this new controversy.
“Investigation is ongoing to determine who is behind this scheme of dragging his name into this matter,” Mayor said.

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