DFA distances self from Misuari’s allegations
Moro leader Nur Misuari’s allegations linking Malaysia to kidnappings are his own views and not that of the government, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesperson Charles Jose said on Monday, ahead of President Duterte’s two-day official visit to the country.
Mr. Duterte is flying to Kuala Lumpur on Nov. 9, and may discuss Malaysia’s role in the peace process in Mindanao during bilateral talks with Prime Minister Najib Razak, Jose said.
Malaysia has been the facilitator of talks between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
The President’s visit comes after Misuari, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founder, claimed he had evidence of Malaysia’s link to kidnappings and even warned that he might drag its leaders to the International Criminal Court.
Misuari surfaced last week to participate in the peace process in Mindanao, after a court temporarily lifted his arrest warrant for rebellion with the support of the administration.
“Well, to begin, Nur Misuari does not speak for the government. What he said was his personal opinion,” Jose told a press briefing, when asked how the MNLF leader’s statements would affect the President’s trip to Malaysia.
Jose also took note of the military’s statement that it would look into Misuari’s allegations.
Meanwhile, Jose believes Mr. Duterte will be ready to talk about the Sabah claim during bilateral talks with Najib, but he could not say if the matter would be brought up during the President’s overnight trip.
“If it is raised by either side, I’m sure our President will be prepared to discuss this issue,” he said.
Mr. Duterte earlier said he would stick to the Philippine position and stake a claim on Sabah.