EXCLUSIVE: MILF 'traitors' and 'criminals' – Misuari

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — It seemed like peace efforts with all Moro groups will finally proceed after Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) leader Nur Misuari surfaced in Malacañang and agreed to talk with government.

But the euphoria may have been short-lived.

Read: Duterte signs EO for new Bangsamoro Transition Commission

Misuari told CNN Philippines he will not participate in peace negotiations alongside rival group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

A group that later on became the MILF broke off from the MNLF after it rejected Misuari’s signing of the 1976 Tripoli peace agreement with the Marcos regime.

Misuari minced no words on the MILF.

“These are all traitors, that’s why I cannot accept them.  I hope the government will dissociate from them, otherwise I can’t forgive them. Why will they associate with traitors?  The last thing that will happen I’ll honor them by allowing them to sign (peace agreement). They must be put in prison, they are pure and simple criminals,” he said.

Misuari’s statement comes on the day President Duterte signed an executive order reconstituting the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, which will now have members from both the MILF and MNLF as well as other Moro groups. The commission will draft the Bangasamoro Basic Law.

But this early, Misuari said he informed Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza that he will boycott the Transition Commission.  He instead gave a list of names to Malacañang — a five-man MNLF panel that will talk separately with government.

MILF vice chairman Ghadzali Jaafar said it is now up to government to decide how peace negotiations would proceed.

Jaafar denied claims MILF members are traitors and criminals.

“Kami ay hindi kailanman nag-renegade o sumuko sa pinaglalaban ng Bangsamoro people. Di kami outlaws,  may batas kaming sinusunod. Combatants namin ay organisado, may batas sa pakikidigma,” he said

[Translation:  We were never renegades, or gave  up on the fight of the Bangsamoro people. We are not outlaws. We follow laws. Our combatants are organized and have rules.”]

Jaafar adds they are willing to talk with any group aspiring to achieve lasting peace in Mindanao, including the MNLF.

“The peace we want to achieve in our homeland is not for MILF alone it is for all Bangsamoro pople, that includes brother Nur Misuari,” he said.

Insofar as Misuari is concerned there is no need for a new law for the Bangsamoro.

He cited the 1976 Tripoli Agreement where the MNLF and the government agreed to give autonomy to 15 provinces and 20 cities, as well as the 1996 Final Peace Agreement that provided mechanisms to carry out the 1976 pact.