The revelation of chief rebel negotiator Mohagher Iqbal that his name was only an alias raised many questions and could affect the peace agreement, Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said on Thursday.
Marcos, chair of the Senate committee on local government, said Iqbal’s disclosure raised many questions that would need to be answered when hearings on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) resumes on Monday, April 13.
Marcos suspended his committee’s hearings on the BBL following the deadly Mamasapano, Maguindanao, clash last January 25, when 44 police Special Action Force commandos were killed.
The senator said he would bring up the revelation at the resumption of the hearings on the BBL, citing its possible implications on the peace agreement which Iqbal signed as the chief negotiator for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
“I will bring it up. This is an important revelation and raises many questions,” he said.
“We need to find out the implications of this,” Marcos said in a text message to reporters who sought his comment on Iqbal’s revelation.
Questions have been raised whether the peace agreement between the government and the MILF was still valid since the rebel group’s negotiator used an alias in signing it. The BBL, which would create the Bangsamoro entity in Mindanao, is an offshoot of the peace pact.
The illegal use of an alias is a crime under Philippine law.
“Who notarized the agreements he signed and what were the documents he represented identifying himself as Iqbal?” Marcos said.
Why use an alias?
Also, the senator said he wanted to know why Iqbal used a pseudonym.
“Why did he feel needed to hide [under] an alias? Who is he? Did the GPH panel know this?” he asked.
“Help us fix what is wrong with the BBL, (do) not try to frighten us when we are just trying to do our jobs as legislators,” he further said.
Marcos said he already invited Iqbal to appear in the hearing but the latter had not indicated if he would be coming.
“His presence, I will strongly encourage,” the senator said.
Meanwhile, Senator Nancy Binay wants the committee of Marcos to invite the convenors of the National Peace Summit, a group formed by President Benigno Aquino III to “dissect” the BBL “in a calm and reasonable manner.”
Binay believes that the convenors — Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, former Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr., Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, Howard Dee and Muslim Princess Bai Rohaniza Sumndad-Usman — can help the committee in making decisions pertaining to the BBL.
“I am urging Senator Marcos to invite them as resource persons to the hearings on the Bangsamoro Basic Law. Their presence will not only ensure that every sector is represented but also provide information that will lead to a better understanding” of the BBL, she said in a statement.
“Hingan po natin ng komento ang lahat ng concerned dito,” (Let’s get the comment of all concerned) Binay said, adding “Kailangan pong mapakinggan natin ang bawat sektor upang mas mapagtuunan natin ng pansin ang mga pangangailangan ng ating mga kababayang maaapektuhan ng batas na ito.” (We need to hear every sector so we could focus on the needs of our countrymen who would be affected by this law.)