Sen. Magsaysay offered chairmanship of peace panel; Rodil is acting chair

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/21 June) – Outgoing senator Ramon Magsaysay Jr.
has been offered by Malacañang to chair the government peace panel in
the negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Newsbreak
magazine online reported today.

Magsaysay told Newsbreak he would give the offer more thought when he
returns from his two-week holiday in Europe. “It’s open-ended,” he
said.

Meanwhile, Malacañang today named government peace panel vice chair
Rudy B. Rodil as acting peace panel chair to ensure continuity in the
peace process.

Newsbreak said that in a meeting in Malacañang early this week,
President Arroyo, National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales and Datu
Othman Bin Abdul Razak of the Malaysian Prime Minister’s Office
“agreed on Magsaysay.”

The report did not say if the MILF agreed to the choice.MILF peace panel chair Mohagher Iqbal told MindaNews they will wait
first for the official communication from the Philippine government
through talks the facilitator, Malaysia, before issuing any comment.

Last Saturday afternoon, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
Jesus Dureza announced in a four-paragraph statement that Malacañang
named Fr. Eliseo Mercado Jr., OMI, as the new peace panel chair to
succeed Secretary Silvestre Afable whose courtesy resignation was
accepted Friday night.

The MILF, however, raised objections that the talks were being
downgraded as the former peace panel chairs were all Cabinet men and
that while they have high regard for the peace
advocate-priest-educator, there is a separation of church and state
and negotiations are state matters.

Fr. Mercado on Wednesday noon announced his decision against accepting
the chairmanship, citing the MILF’s objections and the “clarifications
behind the objections.” He said MILF chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim had
told him they would rather see him head an independent body that would
monitor the peace agreement between the government and the MILF. (Full story to follow)

About mindanaw

A Journalist from Mindanao

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