Despite favoring federalism, Nur Misuari has 'no choice' but to support BOL – Panelo

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 26) — Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founder Nur Misuari would rather witness the implementation of federalism over the Bangsamoro law, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.

In an interview with CNN Philippines News Night on Tuesday, Panelo noted the Moro leader has "no choice" but to support the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) as it was ratified through the majority vote of the region.

"I remember the chairman wanted federalism and not the BOL because he finds it better," Panelo said in the interview.

"Since it has been ratified, I suppose. ... As we said, we'll have to respect the majority. So for now, I think he has no choice but to support (the BOL). After all, he doesn't find it bad. It's still good, but he finds federalism better," the spokesperson added.

Misuari and President Rodrigo Duterte engaged in a 15-minute conversation in Malacañang Monday evening, when Duterte reportedly "apologized" because of "delays" in certain agreements.

Panelo reiterated they talked about federalism matters, and that Misuari did not raise concerns about the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), in the wake of reports that some MNLF members were dissatisfied with the limited seats given to their group.

He added Duterte's concept of federalism may be beneficial to Misuari's group in Mindanao.

The Palace in January expressed optimism that a new federal charter will be approved within the chief executive's term.

Meanwhile, the 80-member BTA officially assumed leadership of the new Bangsamoro autonomous region Tuesday.