MANILA -- President Rodrigo R. Duterte considers Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chairman Nur Misuari as someone who can help in resolving the conflict in Mindanao, Malacañang said on Thursday.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, in a Palace media briefing, was reaponding to a question if the President counts Misuari as a threat to the success of the new Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
“Not really a threat. He (Duterte) considers Nur Misuari as someone -- with his group -- who can help in ending the conflict in Mindanao," Panelo said.
Panelo said Misuari had told him that the MNLF leader wanted to talk with the President to share many ideas that he can contribute for the peace, prosperity and progress in Mindanao.
“I relayed that to the President. And so, the President is wanting or open to talking to him with respect to whatever suggestions he has in mind,” Panelo said.
Asked to comment on Sulu’s ‘no’ votes in the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) plebiscite, Panelo clarified that other leaders in Sulu prefer federalism than the BOL.
"The President will respect the sovereign will of a particular electorate. But winning doesn’t mean that they will go against the law,” Panelo said.
“I talked with [Sulu governor] Abdusakur Tan and he said he is not really against Bangsamoro Organic Law. They want, just like Nur Misuari, they want federalism better. Oh, ibig sabihin (which means), if federalism is better, Bangsamoro Organic Law is good; kaya lang may (but there is something) better," he said.
Reports said about 163,500 voted against the BOL while 137,630 supported the measure in Sulu during last Monday’s plebiscite for the BOL ratification.
A second plebiscite is set on February 6 in six Lanao del Norte towns and in 67 villages in North Cotabato. (PNA)