MNLF leaders unite, recognize Misuari leadership

Roel Pareño - The Philippine Star

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines - The fragmented leaders of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) have agreed to unify under the leadership of its founding chief and chairman Nur Misuari, one of its senior leaders revealed Wednesday. 

The unity of the MNLF leaders, contained in its position paper dubbed as the ‘Jeddah formula’ was signed by its 10 senior leaders and members of the central committee last June 11 in Jeddah before their meeting with the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), said Habib Mudjahad Hashim, chairman of the MNLF’s Islamic Command Council (ICC) who is one of the signatories.

The other signatories of the MNLF position paper were Ustadz Abdulbaki Abubakar, Jimmy Labawan, Abdul Jabbar Narra, Yahodza Simpal, Muslimin Sema, Hatimil Hassan, Shakiruddin Bajin, Randolp Parcasio and Mashur Jundam.

“All MNLF brothers (leaders) signified and signed for the unity. It’s a sign of unity within the ranks of the MNLF,” Hashim said. 

In recognizing the leadership of Misuari, the MNLF leaders also support the call of the former to go back in their original struggle for independence of the Bangsamoro Republik.

“But this will be only the final option if the government will abrogate the 1996 Final Peace Agreement. This is our political and legal option,” Hashim said.

The MNLF leaders called on the OIC to seek on the Philippine government to withdraw the warrant of arrest against Misuari to allow the latter for his official travel specially meeting with the OIC abroad and that his case must be reviewed by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Misuari, who is at large, is facing charges of rebellion and violation of humanitarian law, genocide and other crimes against humanity following the Sept. 9 siege staged by his faction in Zamboanga City. More than 200 people were killed and 120,000 residents were displaced by the devastation of four barangays.

Hashim said while the MNLF leadership sought the dropping of the warrant of arrest, they do not condone the atrocity in Zamboanga City.

“We recognized the rule of law and we seek the DOJ to have a review on the case of Brother Nur,” Hashim said.

City Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar said will leave the case on the DOJ that has jurisdiction of the case against Misuari. 

Hashim said the MNLF leaders also jointly acknowledge the OIC in welcoming the Comprehensive Agreement in the Bangsamoro (CAB) just “as partial fulfillment” with their 1976 Tripoli and 1996 peace accords.

The MNLF leadership split in the mid and late 90’s over disagreements on the leadership of Misuari after the latter took the helm of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and unilaterally took the front’s stewardship.

The disparity and friction in MNLF leadership aggravated after Misuari lost his re-election bid in ARMM against a government supported candidate, MNLF leader Dr. Parouk Hussein. 

Disgruntled and provoked, Misuari launched attack in Jolo, Sulu, and Zamboanga City  in 2002 where he escaped, but he was captured in Sabah months later and detained in Manila. This prompted the Sema faction to elect its 15-man committee and oust Misuari from the chairmanship. 

“The OIC which was apparently worried over the fragmented leadership and called for the unity as it continue to affect efforts in bringing solution to the Bangsamoro problem,” Hashim said. 

The MNLF under Misuari has remained and is recognized as the sole observer to the OIC, an organization of the 57-Muslim states.











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