Almendras: PNoy open to talks with Nur Misuari
MANILA – President Benigno Aquino III is willing to talk to Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founder Nur Misuari about possible solutions to end the standoff in Zamboanga City, Cabinet Sec. Rene Almendras said on Thursday.
Almendras said the President is open to the idea of communicating with Misuari, but the latter has been unavailable.
“The President is not difficult to talk to if you really want to talk to him. And if you have situations like the one we have now, definitely he would be willing to talk to you if you wanted to talk to him,” Almendras told ANC’s “Prime Time.”
Almendras, however, could not say if the President is willing to fly to Zamboanga, where fighting has not stopped since Monday.
Several top government officials, including Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin were sent by the President to Zamboanga to assess the situation.
Almendras said the President has been “hands on” with the ongoing crisis and is constantly being updated.
“The President is, contrary to what some people think, quite hands on. Since this issue has started, there have been regular gathering of key people. On any given day, there are at least 3 or 4 conference calls to the onsite team that’s in Zamboanga,” he said.
Misuari has disowned the actions of one of his top commanders, Habier Malik, who is currently engaged in the standoff, according to Zamboanga Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco.
Malik is allegedly leading the MNLF men who have held hostage at least 170 civilians.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), however, remains convinced that Misuari himself ordered the attacks.