Tuesday, August 5, 2008

MILF Claims Bangsamorostan is a "Done Deal"

The MORO ISLAMIC LIBERATION FRONT (MILF) claims that the initialing of a Memorandum of Agreement by Hermogenes Esperon and Rodolfo Garcia means that the deal between it and the Arroyo administration to establish a Bangsamoro Juridical Entity is now a "done deal", even if the Supreme Court has issued an indefinite-time temporary restraining order against it. Here is the full statement of the MILF Central Committee:
“We have initialed the text of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral domain last July 27, 2008. The pact is a done deal. It is binding on the contracting parties who are obliged to refrain from acts that would defeat the object and purpose of their agreement.”


This was the initial statement coming from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), after the Philippine Supreme Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to stop the government from signing the MOA-AD with the MILF.

The formal signing ceremony was due to take place, Tuesday, August 5, at Marriott Hotel, Putrajaya, Selangor, Malaysia. A public ceremony only gives importance politically to that “done deal” as a means to establish their consent to be bound to the initialed text of the MOA-AD.

Speaking through Mohagher Iqbal, MILF chairperson of the committee on information, described the TRO as an internal process of the government, which has no binding effects on the MILF.

“The act of initialing the MOA-AD agreed text between the parties,” Iqbal said, “constitutes a signature of the Philippine government and MILF.” Initialing was in fact “done with a credible third party witness, the Malaysian government as facilitator of the talks since 2001,” he went to say. Adhering to diplomatic practice, the MILF peace panel and the GRP peace panel exchange the agreed on text to establish their consent.

Secretary Rodolfo Garcia, GRP chief peace negotiator, and Secretary Hermogenes Esperon of the Office of the Presidential Assistant on the Peace Process (OPAPP) likewise initialed the document for the government, while Mohagher Iqbal for the MILF, and Datuk Othman bin Abdulrazak, the chief peace facilitator, for the Malaysian government.

Iqbal said the signing ceremony is a matter of formality, but even without this ceremony, the document is already legally binding on the parties.

Asked what would be the impact of the aborted signing to the MILF, he said: “Nothing! This is not even a setback to the MILF. We are on the upper hand especially in the battle for moral ascendancy.”

He added: “It is the Arroyo administration which is shamed in the eyes of the international community. There are so many ambassadors already in the Malaysian capital to attend the signing ceremony, only to be told that it is cancelled at the last minute.”

Among those foreign dignitaries already in Kuala Lumpur are US ambassador to the Philippines Kristie Kenney and Ambassador Sayed ElMasry, adviser to Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) Secretary General and Special Envoy for Peace Process in Southern Philippines.

Sayed ElMasry agreed to officially endorse the GRP-MILF MOA-AD; in fact, his name is appearing in the initialed document as one of the signatories.

The MOA-AD is the textual version of the consensus points arrived upon by the government peace panel and the MILF peace panel for about four years of peace negotiations which commenced way back in December 2004.
By the way, I think that Ding Gagelonia at Filipino Voices was maybe seeing too much in a simple typographical error on the Luwaran website, interpreting it as meaning that the MILF had announced a postponement of the signing ceremony that would have been held today, August 5. Here is the August 4, 2008 post on Luwaran:
In what is considered as the most significant and historic event that ever happened in the annals of the 11-year old GRP-MILF Peace Talks, the MILF has sent some 50 persons including its peace panel, secretariat, technical committee, and representatives of its nominated non-government organizations (NGOs) to the formal signing ceremony of the memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain (MOA-AD) in Putrajaya, Selangor, Malaysia August 25.
If the report is true, US Ambassador Kristie Kenney is a bigger fool than I thought. Esperon, Garcia and Dureza really are the Three Stooges of this whole sorry mess.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

So is it also true that the MILF will turn over to the GovtPhilippines those responsible for the beheadings of the Philippine marines.

And will GovtPhilippines get 25% of any earnings from BJE-conducted kidnap-for-ransom?

DJB Rizalist said...

anon,
if you mean will they turn themselves in for the ambush and beheadings of those soldiers, I seriously doubt it. But yeah, this govt will probably take a percentage any time it can, though 25% seems low for them!

DJB Rizalist said...

anon,
if you mean will they turn themselves in for the ambush and beheadings of those soldiers, I seriously doubt it. But yeah, this govt will probably take a percentage any time it can, though 25% seems low for them!

Dave said...

For the moment, I shall refrain from profane comments about the obvious cowardice that has led to trying to implement this "Munich". The idea of actually creating a privileged sanctuary for those who would do you harm is staggering.

I will however comment on Ambassador Kenney's all too common approach to matters. She is there to promote and implement AMERICAN foreign policy. And AMERICAN foreign policy is or should be for the purpose of maintaining and perpetuating the USA as a free and independent federal republic.

As a Sharia/Bandit state within a state is contrary to that goal (especially in a country with the ties to America that the PI has) the good Ambassador should let the Filipino so-and-so's know that if they persist in their folly, Uncle Sam will let them "Waller" in the
regime-changing consequences.

Now if this be imperialism, let us make the most of it. This is one of those cases where the consequences of inaction are far worse than the consequences of intervention. I wish it were otherwise, but if wishes were horses, beggars could ride.

Seriously, Dean. What are the chancesa of heading this off?

Pedestrian Observer GB said...

Dj/Anon, No, the MILF cannot give the 25% cut to the Philippine government, there will be a strong resistance from the brokers errrr negotiators who gets the bigger chunk of the ransom money than the kidnappers........ are the MILF serious when they say its a done deal base on the initials? If it was so why are they not furnishing a copy to Pinon and the rest of the people in the affected areas?

Abe N. Margallo said...

Looks like GMA may have confirmed the "done deal" claim of MILF that allegedly took place on July 27, 2007.

The day after the supposed "initialing" of the MaO, or during SONA 2008 (delivered July 28, 2008,) GMA said:

“A comprehensive peace has eluded us for half a century. But last night, differences on the tough issue of ancestral domain were resolved. Yes, there are political dynamics among the people of Mindanao. Let us sort them out with the utmost sobriety, patience and restraint. I ask Congress to act on the legislative and political reforms that will lead to a just and lasting peace during our term of office.” (Italics mine)

Abe N. Margallo said...

But the timelines of INQ editorial of August 6, 2008 is even more confusing to me:

“The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) says the Philippine government has already entered into a memorandum of agreement with it. What the government said was supposed to take place on Aug. 5 but which the MILF announced on Monday would take place on Aug. 25, is merely a ‘symbolic signing.’

“Mohagher Iqbal, the MILF’s chief peace negotiator, claims that he and Rodolfo Garcia, the government’s chief peace negotiator, and Presidential Peace Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, signed the agreement, with the Malaysian government’s Datuk Othman bin Abdulrazak as witness, on July 16. This, in turn, does not match President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s assertion, made in her State of the Nation Address, that the thorny question of ancestral domain was settled only on the night before she delivered her speech on July 26.” (Italics mine)

DJB Rizalist said...

Dave, it'll never fly in this form, but I think the President KNEW that going in. Which is probably WHY she did it. The leading theory is she wants to use the peace problem in Mindanao as a battering ram to get Charter Change moving in the Congress but putting the ball in their Court in signing a deal with unconstitutional provisions.

the chances of stopping it? that remains to be seen...

DJB Rizalist said...

Abe, the august 25 date was a typo on the Luwaran web site that Ding Gagelonia misinterpreted and got picked up by MLQ3 and others.

Regarding the July 16 date, it seems that on that date the MILF first raised the objection that the deal could not be implemented if the ARMM elections are held August 11, as now seems unavoidable. That is the reason the govt then tried to get the elections postponed.

But it was very clear that the President wanted to announce this during the Sona, which is why she insisted that a "breakthrough" had occurred on July 27, the night before the Sona.