MANILA – Senate President Franklin Drilon urged the media on Sunday to stop discussing the use of aliases by some officials of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), saying it will not affect the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
”For me, the use of alias should not be the hindrance in our peace process. The media should stop discussing it. It will not affect the BBL,” Drilon said in a radio DXBB interview.
Drilon explained that what is important is that MILF chief negotiator Mohaqher Iqbal, who admitted using many aliases, is being recognized by the MILF as their authorized representative to negotiate with the Philippine government.
”What is important is that the MILF is recognizing the signature of Iqbal. The MILF recognizes Iqbal as chairman (of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission,” Drilon said.
”The MILF did not say it will abandon the peace agreement because of nom de guerre. The MILF recognizes Iqbal is their representative and that should have put an end to the issue,” he added.
Drilon said that at the end of the day, the tough challenge now for the Senate is make sure that the BBL will not violate the Constitution.
”Congress is not bound by the language or the exact terms of the peace agreement. We are free to take a look at it when it is based on the Constitution. The vote of Congress and the people through plebiscite is what should matter,” Drilon said.
Senator Francis Escudero, meanwhile, has acknowledged that Iqbal’s use of alias will not affect the legality of the peace agreement but his refusal to reveal his true identity will not help in rebuilding the confidence of the public toward the peace process.
”The confidence has been affected because of Iqbal’s use of alias. Their true identity should come from their own mouth and not for us to research for it,” Escudero said in a separate DZBB interview.
Drilon said once the BBL is approved, the MILF officials who will become part of the Bangsamoro government should already use their own true identity in signing public documents.
He said the target of the Senate is to pass the BBL by June 11 of this year.