Duterte orders military, police not to arrest Nur Misuari

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Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founder Nur Misuari and President Rodrigo Duterte (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 25) — President Rodrigo Duterte said he has ordered the military and police not to arrest Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founder Nur Misuari.

In a speech before the Liga ng mga Barangay (League of Villages) Monday evening, Duterte said Misuari is planning to "go out" amid "ramblings" about the MNLF's membership in the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA).

"There are ramblings about the MNLF. Sabi namin [We said] come and join. ... But Misuari is going out and I have ordered the military and police. ... May kaso siya e [He has a case]. Allow siya [him], he will come back," he said.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Duterte had asked Misuari to provide inputs in the Bangsamoro Organic Law but the MNLF leader has not given any.

After members of the Bangsamoro interim government took their oath last week, the President said he is considering a separate deal with Misuari's group.

The BTA includes some MNLF members from the faction of former Cotabato City Mayor Muslimin Sema and another faction from incumbent chair Yusoph Jikiri, among others. But reports said the Moro group is seeking more seats in the 80-member transition government.

The interim government will include 41 members from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, including its chairman Al Hadj Murad Ebrahim.

Misuari was the embattled former governor of the transitioning Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.

Duterte earlier said he wanted to meet with Misuari for peace negotiations in Mindanao.