Duterte meets Misuari amid MNLF 'rumblings' report

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 26 2019 03:15 PM | Updated as of Feb 26 2019 03:34 PM

MNLF founding chair Nur Misuari meets with President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacañang in this photo taken in August 2017. Malacañang photo/File

MANILA- President Rodrigo Duterte met with Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chairman Nur Misuari on Monday night amid supposed "rumblings" within the rebel group over the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA).

Misuari, however, did not discuss the reported complaints of some MNLF members over the BTA, which is largely composed of its rival group Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Tuesday.

"For one, if the MNLF was complaining about it, the chairman did not mention it last night," Panelo said in a press briefing in Malacañang.

"The fact that he (Misuari) did not make any complaint relative to that last night shows that he understands," he added.

Panelo echoed peace process adviser Carlito Galvez Jr.'s earlier remarks that the MNLF has been assured of "equitable" representation in the BTA.

"Not equally in terms of number but on how effective the representation will be with respect to the goals of the BTA," he said.

The President met with Misuari for 15 minutes on Monday night and would seek another dialogue with the rebel leader according to Panelo.

During the meeting, Panelo said the President instead sought Misuari's understanding over agreements on federalism that have yet to be enforced.

"The President told the chairman (Misuari) that he admired his patience and he apologized for not having implemented or enforced any agreements they had with regards to federalism," Panelo said.

Misuari is set to leave Tuesday night for trips to the United Arab Emirates and Morocco to attend meetings of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation's (OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers and the Parliamentary Union of the OIC Member States (PUIC). 

The Sandiganbayan, which is hearing graft and malversation cases against him over allegedly anomalous procurement during his time as Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) governor, granted his request for leave of court in exchange for a P920,000 travel bond. 

The 80-member BTA, led by MILF chair Murad Ebrahim, took oath last week as the transition leadership of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

This followed the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), which established BARMM as a region given greater self-governance powers in place of the ARMM.