Duterte admits to making 'arrangements' for Misuari to travel overseas

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(File photo)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 27) — President Rodrigo Duterte said he has arranged for Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founder Nur Misuari to travel overseas.

The President, who in past referred to Misuari as his "beloved friend," made the revelation Tuesday in his speech at the general assembly of the League of Municipalities in the Philippines.

"Now there is Misuari, he saw me last night. He was not allowed by the court to go out because he has pending charges when he was armed. So I had to make some arrangements," he said.

Duterte said he was not in the habit of making personal requests, but an exception was made in the case of Misuari.

"Sabi ko, papasukin ah palabasin ninyo. Sabi ko, for the sake of — alam mo na because I still have to craft — we in government," he added.

[Translation: I said, let him come and go. I said, for the sake of — you know because we still have to craft — we in government.]

He did not elaborate, but Duterte has earlier sought Misuari's cooperation in the formation of the new Bangsamoro autonomous region whose interim government is led by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a rival group of Misuari's MNLF. Duterte has also asked Misuari's help in freeing hostages of the Abu Sayyaf group.

The Sandiganbayan on Tuesday granted Misuari permission to travel to Morocco and the United Arab Emirates where he will attend the summits of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Council of Foreign Ministers as well as the 14th Session of the Parliamentary Union of Islamic Cooperation Member States — both in March.

The Moro leader, following his conditional arraignment for graft and malversation charges Tuesday morning, posted a ₱920,000 travel bond for the trip.

He leaves Tuesday night and is expected to return home by March 20.