Misuari, alleged brains of Zamboanga attack, appears after arrest is lifted
Nur Misuari, leader of the rogue faction of the former secessionist Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), came out of hiding after three years and met President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacanang on Thursday following the suspension of his warrants of arrest.
Misuari is facing charges of rebellion and violation of the international humanitarian law for the deadly attack in Zamboanga in September 2013, leaving around 200 people dead and displacing more than 100,000.
The Pasig Regional Trial Court granted Misuari's petition after the Duterte administration stressed the importance of his possible role in attaining lasting peace in Mindanao .
The Duterte government said Misuari is "needed to allow the much desired peace talks to resume."
Duterte said suspending the warrants of arrest was upon his orders and his administration never intended to deprive Misuari of his liberty.
He assured Misauri to find out how to address the Bangsamoro problem and to talk about the Bangsamoro authority.
An apparently frail Misuari thanked Duterte for facilitating his freedom.
"Now I came here to thank him, first also for restoring my freedom, if only partially," said Misuari, who was allowed by Duterte to stand on the presidential podium.
He vowed to support the peace process.
"Just allow me to reiterate my sense of gratitude to the president and I promise that should he need our cooperation in his campaign for peace, you can count on us, Mr. President," he said.
In an 8-page resolution promulgated on October 27, Presiding Judge Maria Rowena Modesto-San Pedro of the Pasig City Regional Trial Court, granted Njur’s petition to suspend proceedings and enforce warrants of arrest against him.
Misuari, MNLF founding chairman, filed the petition without opposition from the prosecution, and as supported by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP).
"Accordingly, let the proceedings in these cases against accused Nur Misuari be suspended," the resolution said.
The Pasig court ordered the Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines , the National Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies to suspend, as well as enforce the warrants of arrest issued against Misuari for six months from the date of resolution. Proceedings will be suspended as well.
Misuari, who led the rebellion in Mindanao in the 60's and forged a final peace agreement with the government in 1996, claimed the MNLF was not a spent force.
He also claimed even the members of the rebel Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) led by Al Haj Murad Ebrahim and those of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) have joined the MNLF.
The MILF broke away from MNLF in the early '70s, while the BIFF, formed in late 2010, is a splinter group of the MILF.
"Even right now, you can ask Hadji Murad himself, how many thousands of his forces, how many thousand of his arms have been brought back to us," he said.
"He will tell you most of the titles are already with me. And even the BIFF have told me, brother Nur if you go to war, count on us, BIFF," Misuari added.
Misuari bragged about his role to secure release of some hostages by the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group.
He claimed there were Malaysian leaders who were involved in the kidnapping incidents in southern Philippines , including the Sipadan hostage crisis in 2000.
"Our source is saying that since Malaysia is the one who is involved in this kidnapping for ransom, probably, one day, I will drag their leaders into that International Criminal Court. I have all the evidences in my hands. My people are everywhere and besides, they cannot escape because they are hiring my own people. Even Sipadan, they hired my cadre officers, because they opt for the millions," he said. Celerina Monte/DMS