As I See It

Is Mohagher Iqbal a Malaysian?

/ 12:09 AM April 15, 2015

How can you trust anybody hiding behind an alias? Alias Mohagher Iqbal refuses to reveal his real name to senators who would have to pass the controversial Bangsamoro Basic Law. If the BBL is so important to him, why doesn’t he show sincerity and tell the truth about his name to the senators? If you are concluding a contract with somebody, would you trust him if he uses an alias?

Iqbal said that is his revolutionary nom de guerre for security reasons. But how can the alias provide him with security when everybody knows how he looks like, considering that his pictures and video clips appear almost daily in newspapers and on television?


Some observers suspect the reason is that he is not really a Filipino but a Malaysian, and telling the senators his real name would reveal that.

Iqbal said he carries a Filipino passport. If true, then his real name must be on the passport because the government does not issue passports to people using an alias and in fact goes to great lengths to determine the passport holder’s identity. Since Iqbal will surely not show his passport, why does the Senate not subpoena the records of the Department of Foreign Affairs, where his true name should be?


What is shocking is that the two government representatives in the peace talks, Secretary Ging Deles and Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, are helping Iqbal hide his identity. Who are they really representing, the Philippine government or the MILF?

Ferrrer drew snickers when she produced a peso bill bearing the signature of President Joseph Ejercito Estrada, which she said is an alias. And Senate President Franklin Drilon said two senators, Jinggoy Estrada (real name: Jose Pimentel Ejercito Jr.) and Bong Revilla (real name: Jose Marie Mortel Bautista) are using aliases.

But it is different with show biz people. It is standard practice among them to use names that would be more attractive to moviegoers. They are known by those names everywhere but they sign their true names on documents. Unlike Iqbal, however, they are not hiding their true identity. They just want their screen names to be more attractive to fans. This is true also with Hollywood stars. In the case of President Joseph Estrada, he just added Estrada to his real surname of Ejercito, and he is known by that name everywhere. In fact, he is better known by his nickname “Erap.” He is not hiding behind an alias.

Iqbal, on the other hand, is hiding his real name and signs official documents with his alias. Which puts in doubt the legality and validity of the documents he signed because there is a law that prohibits signing official documents with an alias. And certainly, using an alias in such an important document as the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro does not inspire trust.

But that does not bother our peace negotiators Deles and Ferrer. They should be the first to demand the true identities of their counterparts in the MILF, but they conspire to hide these identities instead. It turns out that not only is Iqbal using an alias but most of the MILF peace panelists and our representatives also know it but did not do anything about it. Our representatives have revealed their true colors. They are really on the side of the MILF. Isn’t it time that they were replaced with others more trustworthy?

* * *

By now, President Benigno Aquino III and the Philippine National Police should be alarmed by how the population of journalists is being reduced by for-hire gunmen riding on motorcycles. Their latest victim is 40-year-old Melinda “Mei” Magsino, a former correspondent of the Inquirer in Batangas, who was shot last Monday in the head while walking on the street only 50 meters from her apartment.


Magsino is the 32nd journalist murdered in the Philippines under the Aquino administration and the 173rd since 1986. The Philippines is among the top three countries where the murder of journalists is most likely to go unpunished, ranking third after Iraq and Somalia, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.

In fact, if you add other victims of riding-in-tandem assassins to the list of journalist-victims, the total would be like the result of an epidemic. But nobody has been sent to prison for these murders, and the PNP is not ashamed of this fact. And since nobody gets punished, the assassins have become bolder. Not a week passes when somebody is not murdered in the streets.

It doesn’t seem to bother the father of the nation, either, the President, that his constituents are being killed right and left. He has not given orders to the police to get their act together and stop the massacre and get the killers.

Has he found the solution to the population explosion?

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TAGS: aliases, BBL, journalist killings, Mei Magsino, MILF, mohagher Iqbal
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