Koko to GPH: Don't overpromise in peace talks

By Jorge Cariño, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 24 2014 02:59 PM | Updated as of Jan 25 2014 07:51 AM

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Senator Koko Pimentel reminded negotiators of the Government of the Philippines (GPH) facing their counterparts from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) at the 43rd Formal Exploratory Talks being held in this city, not to make promises that are not doable.

Pimentel arrived Friday to observe the conduct of discussion between two panels.

"I came here with an open mind and encourage both parties to negotiate and deal in good faith," said Senator Pimentel, who also hails from Mindanao.

The senator said he reminded negotiators to be cautious of the commitment that they may lay down on the table in discussing with the MILF the fourth annex of the Framework Agreement of the Bangsamoro.

"Basta ako ang guidanace ko lang sa negotiators, do not overpromise because the Congress has to enact a law that should be constitutional. Basta do not overpromise," he said.

Pimentel cited as example the MOA-AD (Memorandum of Agreement-Ancestral Domain), which was entered into by the Arroyo administration with the MILF and eventually declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in October of 2008.

"Sa MOA-AD for example, better to be honest, be realistic, so Congress can also a do its part," the senator said.

Pimentel is optimistic that should the agreement be signed by both parties, Congress will have sufficient time to enact the Basic Law.

"Yes, I think the time table, the MILF is acceptable for the MILF to have a document signed before the end of the term of President Aquino," he said.

Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda has also arrived in Kuala Lumpur along with Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita "Ging" Deles.

Lacierda has been observing the talks since last year and witnessed the signing of two annexes, the Wealth Sharing Annex in July of 2013 and the Power Sharing Annex signed last December.

"Compared dun sa discussion nung dalawang naunang annex, mas maganda ang mood dito," he said.

Deles explained that the Annex on Normalization is a feature that was not part of previous peace agreements entered into by the Philippine Government.

She said that the Annex on Normalization is envisioned to make sure that no similar incident like the Zamboanga Siege last September 2013 will happen.