From the Manila Standard Today (Feb 17): Misuari kicks out ‘mutinous’ deputy
Chairman Nur Misuari of the Moro National Liberation Front on Saturday expelled his deputy for misrepresenting Misuari in a recent negotiations with the Aquino administration.
MNLF spokesman Absalom Cerveza said Jimmy Labawan, formerly vice chair, was ordered by Misuari ejected from the organization for improper conduct and insubordination.
Labawan represented himself as the official delegate of the MNLF to the scheduled GRP-MNLF talks in Jakarta in connection with the stalled review of the 1996 final peace accord between the government and the Misuari group.
Cerveza said Misuari has appointed Rolando Olamip, chairman of the MNLF in Davao City, as the new vice chairman of the MNLF.
Cerveza said “as of now he (Olamip) has not been given by Misuari any marching orders.”
“Labawan’s action is perceived to be a form of mutiny because he allowed himself to be used by the government to undermine the authority and the privilege that only belongs to Misuari,” Cerveza said.
Cerveza said Labawan, who actively took part in past peace negotiations in the 1970s, along with Randy Karon and Pendie Colano emerged as the new MNLF cluster that would represent the MNLF to the resumption of peace negotiations with the government.
Cerveza said the formation of the new cluster was an apparent attempt by the government to create a divide and rule tactics aimed to confuse and weaken the entire organization.
“Labawan is not authorized to attend the supposed meeting since it is only Misuari who is the official titular head of the MNLF who can engage the government in any negotiations,” Cerveza said that Labawan’s move appeared to be part of a government strategy to oust Misuari who remains at large.
“The sole purpose of it is to eventually unseat Misuari as chairman of the MNLF because he is facing a case,” Cerveza said.
Labawan’s group was to include Randy Karon and Pendie Colano and others as MNLF representatives to the upcoming peace negotiations with the government in local and international engagement.
“It is the plan by the government because they think Misuari will not be in the position to negotiate because of his case that’s why a new group was formed,” the spokesman said.
“They are coming up with a resolution asking the government to represent the MNLF to attend the Jakarta meeting if there would be talks,” Cerveza added.
However, Cerveza noted that the new MNLF group would have no international bearing to the peace talks since it is Misuari who is duly recognized by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Jakarta that brokered the Final Peace Agreement with the MNLF culminating in 1976.
“Misuari is the legitimate representative of the Bangsamoro people and the MNLF under Misuari as the permanent observer member to the OIC,” he emphasized.