Misuari guilty of sedition?
Belmonte offers Congress as third-party venue
MANILA - Skirmishes between members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) loyal to Nur Misuari and government security forces may be a form of rebellion, if not sedition, House Speaker Sonny Belmonte said Tuesday.
Belmonte said the government should review all of its options considering the gravity of the situation.
"We at the House of Representatives condemn the needless violence taking place in Zamboanga initiated by the Nur Misuari-led Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), which is definitely not at all the solution to achieve the peace sought by our brothers in Mindanao and by the Aquino government," he said in a statement.
Belmonte expressed doubts that Misuari had nothing to do with the incident."
Earlier, Atty. Emmanuel Fontanilla, Misuari's spokesman, denied the MNLF initiated the attacks and claimed this was a diversionary act of the Palace.
Belmonte urged the MNLF to raise their concerns to the government, offering Congress as a venue for any discussions.
"Whatever needs to be discussed with the MNLF, on the other hand, can be brought to a negotiating table and Congress can be the third-party venue for the Executive and the MNLF to come to terms for our nation. There is no need for an international body to mediate on the matter but sincerity and calm from all parties involved," he said.
Separately, Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez of the independent minority bloc is calling on President Aquino to immediately hold talks with Misuari to stop the fighting between the group and government forces in Zamboanga.
"Mr. Misuari had earlier warned the government against possible action by his group. over their strategy in the pursuit for lasting peace in Mindanao. Innocent lives have been lost in the fighting. Only immediate negotiations can stop further bloodshed," Romualdez added.