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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Moro-moro on Mamasapano


By Alejandro Del Rosario 
Moro-moro in the colorful Pilipino language means a sham or a charade.
That’s how Buhay Party List Rep. Lito Atienza describes the on-going House probe on the Mamasapano incident and why he’s not taking part in it.
Speaking at the breakfast news forum “Kapihan sa Manila Bay” at the refurbished and historic Luneta Hotel, Atienza said the House hearing was an “orientation  program” to condition the public’s mind to absolve President Aquino from any blame in the Jan. 25 Maguindanao massacre of 44 PNP-SAF commandos by MILF and BIFF guerrillas.
Watching some of Aquino’s allies in the House panel outdo each other in shielding the President from any responsibility in the Mamasapano police operation, Atienza said he expects the House report to be signed by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte be starkly different from the Board of Inquiry and Senate reports which found Aquino ultimately responsible for putting suspended PNP chief Alan Purisima in charge of the sensitive police operation to get international terrorist Marwan and Basit Usman.
Atienza also assailed Prof. Miriam Coronel Ferrer, the head of the government peace panel, for saying it was not illegal for MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal to use an alias or a nom de guerre in signing documents pertaining to the Bangsamoro Basic Law. The bill is now under review in the House of Representatives and congressmen belonging to Aquino’s ruling Liberal Party were called to a meeting in Malacanang in February and given their marching orders for its passage. 
“I didn’t  know the law against using an alias or a fake name has been repealed. If it was  scrapped,  then anyone can now use an alias to consummate a sham marriage,“ remarked Atienza pointing out the peace agreement signed by the MILF official using an alias could be void from the start.
Iqbal claims it’s his right to use an alias or a nom de guerre as a revolutionary. But Nur Misuari, a true revolutionary before Iqbal became one, uses his own name.
Senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. said the Senate committee reviewing provisions of the BBL will look into Iqbal’s use of an alias when he signed the framework peace agreement. He said this has serious implications on the peace process and his committee which resumes hearings on the BBL this Monday will raise questions on the matter.
Our clueless government panel could have been  dealing and negotiating with Malaysian agents.  There’s an easy way to find out. The Bureau of Immigration could dig up Iqbal’s departure and arrival records. Why the immigration bureau which is under the Department of Justice hasn’t done so is rather strange. Is there an order from the Palace not to?
What passport did Iqbal use when he first met with President at a Tokyo airport prior to the formal peace talks? The hush-hush meeting lasted only a couple of hours with Aquino returning to Manila the same day. Iqbal presumably returned to Manila or might have proceeded to Kuala Lumpur to report on the meeting to his Malaysian principals.
Atienza and other members of the independent minority bloc said they would scrutinize revisions to the BBL measure to make sure it conforms to the Constitution and does not create a state within a state.
  Interviewed after the news forum, Atienza admitted he’s seeking a Senate seat under Vice President Jejomar Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance party. It’s going to be a crowded race with former senators Ping Lacson, Kiko Pangilinan and Dick Gordon vying to return to the Senate.
Lacson and Pangilinan took temporary jobs as Presidential Assistants on Typhoon Yolanda rehabilitation and Food Security czar, respectively, while Gordon is full-time chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross which keeps him in the public eye.
“God might have other plans for me,” said Lito who’s not ruling out higher office if Binay cannot find a running mate for Vice President. He’s probably the most qualified having been Environment and Natural Resources Secretary, three- term Manila mayor, National Housing Authority general manager, and a member of the 1984 Batasang Pambansa (National Assembly)  Atienza was also an activist—one of the few brave souls who opposed martial law.
In a field of re-electionist senators and returnees with name recall, there will be probably only four seats up for grabs. These are the ones to be vacated by graduating senators who cannot run anymore because of term limits—Miriam Defensor Santiago, Lito Lapid, and Pia Cayetano. Senators Jose (Jinggoy) Estrada and Ramon (Bong) Revilla are detained  and denied bail on charges of plunder related to businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles’ pork barrel scam.

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