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As I See It

No more secret pacts with the MILF, please

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The Philippines is in uproar over President Aquino’s secret meeting, last Thursday in Tokyo, Japan, with Murad Ebrahim, chairman of the secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The nation is split down the middle. The opposition has criticized the President for it, with an anonymous diplomat calling the meeting with the leader of a rebel group “an act of treason.”

P-Noy gave the MILF’s belligerency status recognition, thus making it a belligerent state in the international community, critics said. “The MILF has again pulled a fast one against the Philippine government,” they said.“The President’s advisers have not given him good advice,” others said. “They are sleeping on the job.”

The President’s allies, on the other hand, hailed his “sincerity” in wanting to end the Muslim secessionist movement. Mindanao’s political leaders, particularly, are all gung-ho for P-Noy’s peace initiatives. After all, it is they, the Mindanaoans, who have been suffering the most because of the terrorist acts and frequent clashes between government troops and Muslim rebels.

P-Noy’s tryst with the leader of a rebel group indeed raised a lot of questions and might have violated plenty of diplomatic and legal protocols and technicalities. Even the explanation by an adviser on the peace process, that it was a “personal, private and unofficial” act of the President intended to hasten peace in Mindanao, does not settle it.

“The President is an official of the Republic 24 hours a day. He has no personal and private hours. All his actions are the actions of an official of the Republic,” critics say.

Because of the ill-fated Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain that the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo secretly forged with the MILF, Filipinos are understandably wary of secret agreements, especially with rebel groups. In this new secret meeting, the people are asking for transparency.

On the other hand, negotiations are sometimes not that simple. Sometimes, backroom talks achieve more than open negotiations because the light of public scrutiny prevents some parties from giving in to the opposite parties’ wishes. Still, we cannot blame the people for being wary. Secrecy indicates, per se, that not everything is on the up and up.

As I see it, however, if P-Noy’s secret talks in Tokyo will finally achieve the lasting peace and progress that have long eluded the people of Mindanao, then it was a risk worth taking. But in the name of transparency, he should inform the people of the terms of an agreement before he concludes one with the MILF. No more secret agreements like what the Arroyo administration almost signed with the MILF, please. That was a stab in the back of the Filipino people.

* * *

I received a letter from Justice Edwin D. Sorongonon of the Court of Appeals. It was about an item in my May 9, 2011 column, specifically mentioning two “unconscionably delayed cases” in the courts. One, a kidnapping case, which took 17 years after a succession of judges inhibited themselves from the case, has recently been decided and the five defendants, all Chinese nationals, have been sentenced to life terms in prison.

The other, a double-murder case against Mayor Licerio Antiporda III of Cagayan province, has been in the courts for more than 17 years. Antiporda was convicted by the Manila regional trial court but he appealed to the Court of Appeals (CA) and there, of all places, the case has been languishing for many years.

The appeal was received by the CA Judicial Records Division on June 14, 2000. It is now August 2011, but still no decision from the “honorable” CA justices. It was originally assigned to Justice Edgardo P. Sundiam. What happened? What is causing the undue delay?

Well, Justice Sundiam inhibited himself from the case after a fire in his court. The case was re-raffled to the other CA justices. But mysteriously, the other justices (17 in all) to whom the case was assigned, inhibited themselves one after the other. Why? They gave varying reasons, but perhaps there are only two real reasons. Guess which one.

Anyway, the case is now with Justice Sorongonon, since April 12, 2011, which is the reason he wrote to me. “I agree with your observation that this case has been pending with the Court of Appeals for sometime,” he wrote.

Does that mean that the case will now move quickly and expeditiously? Not quite, I am sorry to say.

“I wish to inform you,” Justice Sorongonon added, that “after going over the rollo and the original records available, the Special Twelfth Division promulgated a resolution on April 12, 2011.”

The rollo reached the Court “in a state of total disarray,” the division resolution said. Upon Justice Sorogonon’s order, the Clerk of Court had it chronologically arranged and he secured missing copies of some Court issuances. “Likewise, the original records, transcripts of stenographic notes and exhibits of the case were all gathered and presented to us and duly photographed with the observations that the rollo is incomplete, the original transcripts are not chronologically arranged, partly reconstituted and, worse, almost totally in burnt condition, thus making it too difficult for this court to decipher their contents.”

The Court then ordered the clerk of court of Manila RTC 27 to submit a copy of the transmittal of the case on appeal.


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Short URL: http://opinion.inquirer.net/?p=9585

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FJTU7ANFM73DFW2HS5WKOH5QBI Carmelo

    “President Meets With MILF”-headline. At least he’s seeing women closer to his age.

    • Anonymous

      that would be adultery… keep quiet…

    • Anonymous

      Ganitong post, may masabi lang hahaha

  • Anonymous

    The President’s sincerity and on hand approach might upset allot of his detractors, but in essence his actions speaks louder than words. Peace in Mindanao is closer now then ever…Hopefully.

    • Anonymous

      Hopefully nga! But PNoy should give Congress and Senate the report kung ano pinag usapan. Country interest siyempre yan. Gulat siguro mga detractors ng present government sa nangyari kaya esep esep ng pangit na dahilan. Yung kay Gloria nga,di natin alam nasa China na pala with FG pumipirma ng contract sa ZTE. Tapos nang madiskubre ng press, sabi ni Ermita at Lastimoso, na misplaced daw yung mga pirmadong documents. Narinig ko yan sa interview ng dalawang ito sa DZMM. Aminin!

  • Anonymous

    No piece of paper had been signed, did it? They just talked. Who knows, a new lover affair will emerge.

  • Anonymous

    No joint-statement was released. The entire story revolves around noynoys sincerity lang. what is all the fuzz anyway over something that still has to settle very crucial matters. Is the admin just creating falls hopes & if & when things should go south the admin will always have somebody to blame & wash its hands.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BDKDA4PBJULTTOZCJFQLWQQJYM Pinoy Ako

    Peace in Mindanao is like saying there is already peace between Israel and the Palestine.

  • Anonymous

    The people had nothing to worrying with PNOY…If Pnoy cannot tackle the issues hounding Hacienda Luisita, what more the Bangsamoro?
    If Pnoy cannot give up Luisita, how much more the part of Mindanao?..Right…?

    • Anonymous

      Wrong! Why should PNoy give up Luisita? Ikaw, may bahay ka ba? Should you give up your house sa mga hindi naman talagang ka-bahay mo? Negosyo yan, pre. Gising! Isip muna!

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_J3MMYNZSDWVTP7JLLJYCWZBEIQ joma sison

        pre kaw dapat ang magising ang hacienda ay sakop sa CARP law dapat ipamigay ng mga aquinos ang hectarya2x lupain ayon sa batas.magbasa ka muna ha!

    • Anonymous

      I agree with you les21reago!  Dahil sa kabaratan ni PNoy, wala syang ipamimigay, hehehehe.  Kaya nga di sya nag-aasawa dahil ayaw nya mamigay, hehehe

  • Anonymous

    Year
    827   – Muslim conquered Sicily
    (in Italy).  Year 1100-1200  Pope and Europe, with crusades, retook Sicily from Muslims.

    Year
    1398   – Muslim conquered Bosnia, and
    killed priests, nuns and bishops. They destroyed Christian heritage.

    Year
    1453 – Muslim conquered Turkey, and killed priest, nuns and
    bishops. They destroyed Christian heritage except Constantinople or Istanbul.

    Year
    1683   – Muslim attacked Austria but was expelled
    immediately by the help of the Polish soldiers.

    1700               
    no more invasion

    1800              
    no more invasion

    1900               
    no more invasion

    2001       -911 attack (TWIN TOWERS)   

    2002-…(?) – no more
    invasion, but there are more Muslims in England than practicing Anglicans the Protestant Christians of Queen Elizabeth as Head)
              -Europe is returning to paganism; Muslims takes advantage ? (Islamization of Europe ???)

  • Anonymous

    What is the basis of your claim that the Philippines is in uproar and that the nation is split down the middle over this issue? Enough with sensationalizing please. Possibly as you see it, perhaps? There is a line between opinion and fact.



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