MILF, MNLF trade barbs on rebel website item PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 30 August 2012 13:56

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front admitted Wednesday the reports on its website alleging there are links between the Moro National Liberation Front and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement were based on “unverified information,” escalating the tension sparked by the online publications.

Ghadzali Jaafar, the MILF’s vice chairman for political affairs, explained over Catholic station dxMS in Cotabato City that he himself was surprised on why their website, luwaran.com, published reports based on unverified information.

Jaafar even sounded irritated when asked by Carlos Bautista, host of the morning public affairs program of dxMS, if outsiders or a “third party” can influence their website administrator to post questionable editorials or news reports.

“With due respect, are you investigating me on that on the air? I refuse to answer that question,” Jaafar told dxMS via telephone, referring to Bautista’s inquisition.

Lawyer Randolph Parcasio, legal adviser of MNLF founder Nur Misuari, branded the MILF’s publications as an “absolute lie” and irresponsible.

The MILF said certain MNLF groups aided the Kato-led BIFM and its military arm, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in perpetrating their August 5 to 11 incursions in five Maguindanao towns, which dislocated more than 20,000 villagers, about half of them children, women and elderly ethnic Maguindanaon Muslims.

“It is not a wise move on the part of the MNLF to cooperate with the BIFM/BIFF,” the MILF said on its website.

Parcasio said the MILF should have identified the leaders and members of the “MNLF groups” alluded to by the luwaran.com.

“It appears the MILF irresponsibly lumped together the MNLF leadership with those groups,” Parcasio said.

The chairman of the largest and most active of all three MNLF factions, Cotabato City Vice-Mayor Muslimin Sema, said it was illogical for them to either provide tactical support to the BIFM, or fund its activities.

“There are thousands of MNLF members who are poor, so marginalized.  Why will we spend whatever resources we have to sustain the BIFM when our very own MNLF brothers are living in such condition? Let’s be logical about it,” Sema said.

The MILF sprung from the MNLF in the early 1980s, organized by its founder, the late Egyptian-trained cleric Salamat Hashim, who helped establish the MNLF more than a decade earlier, but bolted due to irreconcilable differences with Misuari.

The leaders of the three MNLF groups also ranted on why the MILF’s allegations came at a time when they are campaigning for public support to the on-going tripartite review of their September 2, 1996 final peace agreement with the national government.

Parcasio said even if the MNLF, Malacañang, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation are yet to wrap up the review and subsequent enhancement of the 25-year truce, the three parties already agreed to mutually cooperate in addressing poverty and local peace and security issues; in strengthening governance in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao; and in resolving family feuds involving Moro clans.

The ARMM’s 27-member Regional Assembly, touted as the region’s “little Congress” launched here Tuesday its continuingpublic consultations on possible amendments to the charter of the autonomous region, R.A. 9054, in support of the Mindanao peace process.

The MNLF is to be represented in the public consultations by Regional Assemblymen Mahendra Madjilon and Romeo Sema. Madjilon is a known protege and information consultant of Misuari, while Sema is a member of the general secretariat of the so-called MNLF “Sema group.”