August 11, 2001, Inquirer, Wanted: New job for Misuari, by Donna S. Cueto, Inquirer News Service,
Posted: 11:46 PM (Manila Time)
MALACAÑANG yesterday said that it was looking for another government post to give to Nur Misuari who was eased out as chair of the Southern Philippines Council for Peace and Development.
Presidential spokesperson Rigoberto Tiglao said an ambassadorial post was one of the options being considered but Misuari preferred a post that would not require him to leave Mindanao.
"Misuari decided that he would stay in Mindanao to help out the Bangsamoro people," Tiglao said.
Asked if Misuari could be appointed as a presidential adviser, Tiglao said "that could be one of the alternatives, but it has not been decided what kind of post he would be agreeable to holding."
President Macapagal-Arroyo appointed Cotabato City Mayor Muslimin Sema to replace Misuari as SPCPD chair effective Aug. 10.
Sema is secretary general of the MNLF and a former executive director of the SPCPD.
Tiglao said the MNLF executive committee had given very "sensitive reasons" for recommending Misuari's replacement which prompted the President to act immediately.
He refused to divulge these reasons, but added that the government was not duty-bound to appease Misuari.
The 15-man MNLF executive council made the recommendation to replace Misuari with Sema as SPCPD chair two weeks ago.
Tiglao downplayed fears that Misuari, who said he was "saddened" by the President's decision, would resort to violence.
He said Executive Secretary Alberto Romulo and Presidential Adviser for Regional Affairs Paul Dominguez had talked to Misuari about two weeks ago.
"The two reported that Misuari would be agreeable (to his replacement) and won't resort to violence especially because he is still the ARMM governor. He is still a member of government,” Tiglao explained.
The President, however, has not yet talked to Misuari.
"The President would like to thank ARMM Gov. Nur Misuari for his magnanimity and for his invaluable contribution to the historic peace settlement between the government and the MNLF, including the many years he served the SPCPD as chairman," Tiglao said in a statement.
"She hopes he will continue to help the government's efforts to uplift the lives of our Muslim brothers in another appointive position," he said.
Tiglao said that the President felt that the pace of social and economic development in Mindanao must be quickened.
"She would like to deliver the message that peace and development are but both sides of the same coin, the coin of national stability and progress," Tiglao said.
Cabinet officials earlier questioned the need to replace Misuari as SPCPD chair when his term will end soon--after the results of the Aug. 14 ARMM plebiscite are known, or on Nov. 26 at the latest.
In Cotabato City, reports said that Sema was being groomed by some Palace officials to also replace Misuari as MNLF chair.
But in an interview over radio dxMY here, Sema professed surprise. "We never anticipated this action from Malacañang," he said.
Sema is a member of the 15-member MNLF executive council that sidelined Misuari and named him "chairman emeritus," a non-performing title.