Misuari vows support for Duterte's peace efforts, anti-drug war

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — It was nothing less than a reunion, a renewal of friendship forged decades ago.

President Rodrigo Duterte and Moro leader Nur Misuari shook hands in Malacañang Thursday afternoon — bent on fulfilling a promise they made many years ago: that someday they will be able to finally talk about peace in Mindanao and the country.

The President recalled that he was still a vice mayor back then.

"Little did I know, brother Nur, by the grace of Allah, I became the President of the Republic," Duterte said.

"And in the twilight of our years, we would be able to talk about the problem of our country, the revolution that you have led all these years and finally, understanding on a common ground with government."

Watch: Duterte meets Misuari in Malacañang

Misuari, in return, said if it weren't for Duterte whom he "respects too much," he would have just stayed put in the mountains.

"For I believe, as I said during the campaign, that this one single man who can provide solution to the problem of peace and order in our homeland," the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chairman said.

"I'm not so sure about Visayas and Luzon, but our homeland of Mindanao. Because that's the place where I was born. That's the place where I intend to die," Misuari said.

Related: Duterte to hold simultaneous talks with MILF, MNLF

He thanked the President for his "partial freedom" and said that he would help Duterte throughout his six-year term. A Pasig City court suspended trial and arrest order for Misuari to give way for the meeting with Duterte, and eventually, participate in the peace talks. The Moro leader is facing rebellion charges in relation to the Zamboanga City siege in September 2013.

"I promise that should he need our cooperation in his campaign for peace, you can count on us, Mr. President," vouching for his old friend whom he said would never abandon his pledge to the people.

Related: Zamboanga City on red alert after entry of MNLF members

The President reiterated the solution he sees to attain peace — federalism.

He said he would be willing to step down the presidency even just after two to three years should a federal form of government be completed during his term.

"You have my word, I will resign as President and pave a way for a territorial government," Duterte said.

Misuari-Duterte eyeball.jpg Misuari (left) tells Duterte (right) that he will behind him throughout his term.  

He added that he had spoken about this idea with Misuari a number of times in the past, and they had agreed that a federal setup, where everybody would be given his due, would do justice to the Moro people — something promised to the people of Mindanao "many centuries ago."

"So we would like to ask that we work together with our Moro brothers and create a country that is really, that is just and that is good, and that would be for the next generations to come," the President said.

Shared disdain for illegal drugs

Misuari, just like Duterte, had a mouthful regarding the drug menace in the country.

He said that illegal drugs had been destroying the youth, the children — the next generation.

"Who will succeed us after this, when our citizens are already destroyed by these drugs? To us, I've always been saying that drug is a restless, creeping threat to humanity," he said.

The two leaders, however, did not go into details on how they intended to tackle the peace and drug problems.

But Misuari, discussed at some length, the kidnapping-for-ransom in the south. He said he had sources saying Malaysia had a hand in the problem.

"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," Misuari said, although it wasn't clear who or what kind of Malaysian "leaders" he was referring to.