Bold proposal but inconsistent

During the congressional hearing on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) last February 27, Congressman Celso Lobregat of Zamboanga City asked his colleagues to invite MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari so that he would be able to share his views and take on the proposed law.

To us, this is not a bad idea. But is this the real motive for the invitation? Reports said that Lobregat had asked the most questions, probably outnumbering all those asked by his colleagues combined.

However, it was not known whether such proposal was considered for adoption by the three committees namely Committee on Local Government, Committee on Muslim Affairs, and Committee on Unity and Reconciliation chaired by Congressman Pedro Acharon, Jr., Congressman Mauyag Papandayan, Jr., and Congresswoman Ruby Sahali, respectively.

Indeed, the proposal is challenging; only a man of Lobregat’s mold dares such a proposal. Misuari is not free to move, because he has a pending warrant of arrest. Only the court can order such a furlough, which is not readily available as of date. By the time it is secured, the hearing would have ended already if we based our reckoning on what Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said that the Lower House will have its version of the bill by March 22.

Frankly, we do not know what the constituents of Lobregat in Zamboanga City would say about the proposal, appreciation or disgust. Misuari is persona-non-grata in Zamboanga City, the consequence of the Zamboanga Siege on September 9, 2013.

Of course, Lobregat can be credited for being daring, but the flip side is the noted inconsistency here. He does not want Misuari to step on the soils of Zamboanga City for reason above-cited [MA1] but why is he proposing for his presence in the halls of Congress, which is a higher entity. This gives Misuari the upper hand in the battle for moral or even legal ascendancy.

To recall, the plane carrying Misuari was not allowed to land in Zamboanga City when he was brought to Davao City. Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabel Climaco and Lobregat vehemently opposed such stopover and Misuari’s stepping on the soils of Zamboanga City.  

Frankly, we do not know the effects of the invitation on the raging pre-election positioning of Climaco and Lobregat. Both politicians are eyeing for the same mayoralty post in the forthcoming election in 2019.