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Duterte, Misuari meet in Palace for third time

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By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

President Duterte met for the third time with Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chairman Nur Misuari in Malacañang Tuesday.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte poses for posterity with Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) Founding Chairman Nur Misuari, other MNLF officials, some members of the cabinet, and Senator Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go during their meeting at the Malacañan Palace on July 9, 2019. (KING RODRIGUEZ / PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte poses for posterity with Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) Founding Chairman Nur Misuari, other MNLF officials, some members of the cabinet, and Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go during their meeting at the Malacañan Palace on July 9, 2019. (KING RODRIGUEZ / PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

While Malacañang has yet to release details of the meeting, official photos showed Duterte and Misuari in an embrace as Cabinet members stood by.

Joining the two in their meeting were Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez, Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, and Senator Christopher “Bong” Go.

Duterte has repeatedly expressed his desire to talk to Misuari about the peace process in Mindanao, especially following the establishment of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

The two leaders previously met on February 25 and March 19.

In March this year, Duterte revealed that Misuari asked him “to intercede in his behalf” so that the Moro leader will be allowed to leave the country despite several cases pending before the Sandiganbayan.

Misuari left the country on February 26 for Abu Dhabi for the OIC Summit, and later on to Morocco for the Parliamentary Union of the OIC member states. Duterte assured law enforcers that Misuari will return to the Philippines, saying the latter is a revolutionary and not a fugitive.

In February, Duterte had a brief meeting with Misuari in Malacañang, days after he formed the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), a committee dominated by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

According to Malacañang, Duterte apologized to Misuari for supposedly not able to implement “agreements” on federalism.

Duterte acknowledged that Misuari’s role is important in bringing peace in Mindanao.

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