Stumping corruption is laudable, but there is nothing more important for the country today than to have peace in Mindanao.
Ever since the signing of the comprehensive peace deal in March between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) creating a new political entity – Bangsamoro – to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, hopes are high that this political creation this time, with its all-embracing programs, will address the needs of those concerned and bring lasting peace and prosperity to the region.
Local government committees from both Houses of Congress have been going around the country holding public consultations on the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) for months now and are on the verge of inviting key Muslim leaders to attend and participate in the hearings/deliberation in Congress on the Bangsamoro bill.
“We want to consult them, we want to hear the views of all stakeholders, including armed groups,” Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, chair of the local government committee, said.
Senate counterpart, Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr, even went further saying that he is mulling on seeking the suspension of the arrest warrant against Misuari so he can participate in the hearings of the Senate local government committee on the Bangsamoro bill.
Needless to say that both Rodriguez and Marcos are in favor of having Misuari and another renegade Muslim leader, Umbra Kato of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), attend the committee hearings.
Frankly, I have nothing against that, if that would make the creation of the Bangsamoro a real deal for having peace, stability and progress for all in Muslim Mindanao.
But, let us not, as government, consider these traitorous Muslim leaders above the law.
What I am saying is find them first and apprehend them because they are, to this day, fugitives from the law for the atrocious crimes they have committed against humanity and for being terrorists, plain and simple.
Note that an arrest warrant was issued against Misuari last October in connection with the Zamboanga City siege that led to the deaths of over 200 people. He is reported to be on the run following the filing of rebellion charges against him, although he allegedly surfaced in Sulu sometime ago.
On the other hand, Kato faces arrest over charges of murder and arson, among others, in connection with the 2008 attacks he led against military and civilian targets in Central Mindanao. His BIFF is a breakaway group of the MILF.
Until Misuari and Kato are caught and locked up in jail, they are immaterial in the proceedings on the Bangsamoro bill. The only time their ideas and beliefs matters is when government makes sure that they could no longer create trouble.
(For related blog please see: https://quierosaber.wordpress.com/tag/bangsamoro-basic-law/)