Zamboanga mayor hopes peace pact finalized under Noynoy
ZAMBOANGA CITY – Mayor Celso Lobregat is hopeful that the peace agreement between the government and the rebel group Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will be finalized within the term of President Noynoy Aquino and most importantly that
it will be within the framework of the Constitution.
Lobregat said this in reaction to reports that President Aquino met with MILF chair Al Hadj Murad Ibrahim in Tokyo, Japan on Aug. 4, to discuss possible approaches in moving the peace process forward.
“Hopefully the peace agreement will be completed within the term of President Noynoy”, the mayor said emphasizing that it was exactly three years ago when the Supreme Court, due to the clamor of the Mindanao people, struck down the peace agreement between the government of the Philippines and the MILF.”
In Manila, House Minority Leader Edcel Lagman urged President Benigno Aquino III to personally bare to the public the highlights of his “secret meeting” with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chair Al Haj Murad Ibrahim.
“The people are entitled to know in the spirit of transparency what happened during the furtive talks,” Lagman said.
“What are the parameters for the impending peace negotiations? What are the bottom line demands of the MILF?” the Minority Leader asked Aquino to explain.
The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) published the photo and the news story about the Aquino-MILF meeting in Tokyo in its website Friday.
The story quoted government peace panel chair Marvic Leonen as saying that the “informal meeting which lasted for two hours was cordial but consisted of a frank and candid exchange of their views about the frames of continuing peace talks and some possible approaches that the parties can take to bring a peaceful settlement”.
The report also identified those who accompanied the president during the Tokyo meeting with the MILF official as OPAPP Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, National Security Adviser Cesar Garcia, Budget and Management Secretary Florencia Abad, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda and GPH peace panel chair Marvic Leonen.
Murad was joined by members of the Central Committee, the MILF negotiating panel and some base commanders, according to the OPAPP report.