THE trial and arrest of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chairman Nur Misuari on rebellion charges have been sidelined to pave the way for government’s peace negotiations with his rebel group.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II announced yesterday that the proceedings in the cases of rebellion and violation of Republic Act 9851 or the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and Other Crimes Against Humanity against Misuari have been suspended.
The Pasig regional trial court handling the cases has granted the plea of government prosecutors to temporarily suspend the hearings to allow the MNLF leader’s participation in the peace talks, Aguirre said.
Judge Maria Rowena Modesto-San Pedro of Pasig Regional Trial Court branch 158 granted the motion to suspend the proceedings and enforcement of warrants of arrest against Misuari.
The suspension, however, is only for six months from the date of the resolution unless lifted by the court.
Aguirre earlier bared the DoJ’s plan to seek court relief to allow Misuari to surface and participate in the peace talks with the MNLF after consultation with Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza.
Misuari is facing an outstanding arrest warrant over the criminal charges stemming from the 2013 Zamboanga siege which he led.
The cases against Misuari, MNLF commanders Ustadz Habier Malik, Assamin Bas Arki and Assamin Hussin and hundreds of their members were initially filed before the Zamboanga RTC but they were transferred to the Pasig RTC upon the orders of the Supreme Court due to security consideration.
Misuari meets Duterte
Misuari made history yesterday as he set foot in Malacañang for a meeting with President Duterte.
Duterte has sought to include Misuari in his efforts to reset the Bangsamoro peace process which did not reach its conclusion in the previous administration.
The President asked Misuari to work together “with our Moro brothers and create a country that is really… just and that is good and that would be for the next generations to come.”
“And that I assure you, I said, as you have narrated, we will come up with the modality and then of course, how to place us in our proper homeland, our Mindanao, and that we will talk about the Bangsamoro Authority….But I told Congress if they are able to craft a territorial structure for the federal government and go ahead with the elections and provide the presidency for another form of government, I assure you that upon its completion, if it could be done earlier, three, two years, you have my word, I will resign as President and pave a way for a territorial government which would have provided also maybe a strong president but equally strong national parliamentary, subject to the rules of federalism which will provide a greater leeway, elbow room for governance for our people,” Duterte said in a speech after welcoming Misuari.
Misuari vowed to support the agenda for peace of Duterte and declared that he is very happy to be free again owing to the initiative of Duterte who worked out the suspension of his arrest warrants.
He also aired support for Duterte’s war on drugs and deplored the ill effects of the prohibited substances especially on children.
Misuari led the bloody Zamboanga siege in 2013 to protest the decision of the government of then President Benigno Aquino III to hold talks with MNLF’s breakaway group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).