MILF won't endorse any presidential bet

MILF won’t endorse any presidential bet
abs-cbnNEWS.com

MANILA, Philippines – The Moro Islamic Liberation Front on Sunday said it is not keen on endorsing any of the presidential candidates in the May 10, 2010 election.

“We have a hands-off policy on that. We cannot engage in politics although we are watching very close the platform of every presidential candidate,” MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal said.

Iqbal, however, noted that two of the current presidential bets could declare fresh offensives against the MILF if either one is elected president next month. He identified the two as Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino standard-bearer Joseph Estrada and Lakas-Kampi Christian Muslim Democrats presidential bet Gilbert Teodoro.

Estrada declared an all-out war against the Moro rebel group in 2000 while he was still president of the country. The military offensive led to the capture of dozens of MILF camps in parts of Mindanao.

Iqbal, meanwhile, noted that as a former defense secretary, Teodoro could also take a similar, militaristic approach to the MILF. “Gibo has a somewhat military approach,” he said.

The MILF official also had doubts about the future of GRP-MILF peace negotiations under Liberal Party standard-bearer Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III. He said Aquino had “spoilers of peace” as his counsel, referring to Aquino’s running mate Sen. Mar Roxas, senatorial bet Franklin Drillon and re-relectionist North Cotabato gubernatorial bet Emmanuel Pinol.

He also described Sen. Manuel Villar as a “businessman.”

Iqbal said Sen. Richard Gordon has a “clear” stand on continuing talks with the MILF but said the Bagumbayan candidate might have difficulty winning in the May polls. He said other bets such as Bangon Pilipinas candidate Bro. Eddie Villanueva, environmentalist Nicanor Perlas and Ang Kapatiran standard-bearer JC de los Reyes could draw a similar fate.

The MILF official said his group does not believe that a peace agreement can still be forged under the administration of President Arroyo, whose term is set to expire on June 30. He said the fate of the peace process now lies with the next administration.

“That depends on the government that is taking over. We are just waiting. We don’t want to initiate but if they are willing to open up talks with the MILF, we are going to study it,” he said.

Karen Ang

A plebeian who is trying to make small changes in this world.