Planned Duterte-Misuari meeting worries Zamboanga City gov't
Roel Pareño ( - May 31, 2016 - 4:21pm
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines -- The city government is in a quandary over its rebellion case against fugitive Moro National Liberation Front founding chairman Nur Misuari with President-elect Rodrigo Duterte scheduled to meet him in Sulu.
Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar called on the government to let the law prevail but said the city and its people will respect Duterte's decision.
“Whatever action the incoming president will do, it is really his prerogative as president of the Republic of the Philippines,” Salazar said.
The city and the national government filed rebellion charges and cases for violation of the International Law, genocide and other crimes against humanity against Misuari and close to 200 suspected MNLF members in connection with the September 2013 siege that left more than 200 people dead.
The 23-day siege also led to the dislocation more than 120,000 residents and the destruction of at least five barangays.
More have since died at relocation camps.
Hundreds of residents who remain at transitory sites have yet to return to permanent shelters. Reconstruction of the devastated sites has not been completed despite a promise by President Benigno Aquino III that the displaced will be able to go home.
The Aquino administration set aside P3.89 billion in 2013 for the rehabilitation and rebuilding of the affected villages.
Salazar said that the court handling the cases has issued a gag order on the city's legal office, leaving the local government in a quandary.
“What do we do and how should we act on this?” Salazar said.
The mayor also pointed the at the perceived inaction by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) on a request for guidance on issues on how to deal with Misuari, the MNLF and the separate Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
“We still continue even the battle is done silently in court, we are still always what is in our minds are the victims that have suffered,” Salazar said.
“We will allow the law to prevail on that matter,” she added.

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