In a late night press briefing held at the Presidential guest house here on Thursday, August 11, Duterte referred to Misuari as his friend, saying that he does not want him detained, lest he lose the chance to have peace talks with the MNLF if something happens to Misuari while under government custody.
“I do not want him detained. It’s better that he stays there. Because if something happens to Misuari when he is under our control, when he is detained by us the government, you can never have a talk again with the Tausugs,” Duterte said.
“Pag may nangyari diyan kay Misuari, Malaking problema ‘yan. As in malaki. So you lose the chance, even if it’s a small one, to have a peace talks with anybody there. Delikado yan. And even Sison, (If something happens to Misuari, then we have a very big problem in our hands. You will lose the chance, even if it’s a small to hand to have a peace talks with anybody there. That’s dangerous. And even Sison),” Duterte said.
Misuari is currently in hiding because of a standing warrant of arrest issued to him in 2013 for his role in the MNLF Zamboanga siege, which happened days after Misuari declared the independence of a “Bangsamoro Republik,” while Sison has been in exile in the Netherlands since 1987.
Duterte said both revolutionary leaders “are fighting because they want a better chance for the people.”
Despite being embroiled in a series of spats over the series of skirmishes between the New People’s Army and the army, and the subsequent lifting of the short-lived unilateral ceasefire, the president seemed to hold his former professor Joma Sison in better spirits, even as Duterte remains to be a critic of the armed struggle.
“They want to take over through the force of arms. That is the problem, but they can present a better set up for the Filipinos. The problem is the armed struggle,” Duterte said.
“Ayaw nila itong democracy natin kasi may corruption, kung anu-ano na lang. Well, we’re coping it up with the laws of the land. Sabi ko karamihan naman sa atin, ganoon naman. We just don’t know it but we hate abuses, we loathe corruption, and itong the hardships that are being imposed upon the people, itong drugs (They don’t want this democracy that we have because it is mired with corruption, and so on. Well, we’re coping it up with the laws of the land. I said, we dream of the same thing [Some of us] just don’t know it yet but we all hate abuses, we loathe corruption, and all these hardships that are being imposed upon the people, like drugs),” Duterte said.
The peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front are set to begin on August 22 in Oslo, Norway. The CPP also announced that they will declare a unilateral ceasefire on August 20.
Duterte has yet to talk with the MNLF, but has repeatedly expressed willingness to talk peace with the group even as the government prepares to meet with the leaders of its breakaway group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). (davaotoday.com)DAVAO CITY – President Rodrigo Duterte said that he does not want anything to happen to Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) leader Nur Misuari and Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairperson Jose Maria Sison, saying that they are “men of principle”.