BARMM

Collision course: ‘Expelled’ MILF members move to replace BARMM leaders

Rommel Rebollido
Collision course: ‘Expelled’ MILF members move to replace BARMM leaders

BARMM interim Chief Minister Ahod Balawag 'Al Haj Murad' Ebrahim

The group, led by Sheik Abdulfatah Saleh Delna, asks President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to replace members of the interim Bangsamoro Transition Authority led by BARMM interim Chief Minister Ahod Balawag 'Al Haj Murad' Ebrahim, the MILF chairman

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines – A group claiming to be ad-hoc officials and members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) leadership are on a collision course.

The group, led by Sheik Abdulfatah Saleh Delna, has asked President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to replace members of the interim Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) led by BARMM interim Chief Minister Ahod Balawag “Al Haj Murad” Ebrahim, the MILF chairman.

He said Ebrahim’s group backed the presidential bid of then-vice president Leni Robredo, and had those who supported other candidates expelled.

CONSEQUENCE. The endorsement of the presidential bid of then-vice president Leni Robredo by Bangsamoro interim Chief Minister Ahod Balawag ‘Al Haj Murad’ Ebrahim and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is now being used against the region’s interim leader.

Delma claims to be the ad-hoc chairman of the “MILF-Hashim Salamat wing,” an assertion that BARMM leaders and the family of the late MILF founder decried.

Hashim’s son Abdullah, a BARMM parliament member, on Wednesday, July 27, said his family was offended by the use of his father’s name by Delna’s group, adding that it was an “utter disregard” of the Bangsamoro unity that his father had championed.

The elder Hashim died on July 13, 2003, in an MILF camp in Butig, Lanao del Sur.

The late Hashim studied in Cairo, Egypt, where he first laid the groundwork for the organization of the Bangsamoro armed struggle. He was behind the military training of the famous Batch 90, the first batch of Moro cadres from whom came the armed group of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

He subsequently separated from the MNLF and formed the MILF on December 26, 1977, becoming its chairman.

In a statement, Delna asserted that he and his followers were “bona fide and legitimate members and officials of the MILF, and (were the) trusted persons of the late chairman Salamat Hashim.”

Delna was the commander of the National Guard Front of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces of the MILF.

He cried foul when Ebrahim’s group “expelled” him on April 27 for merely “expressing support and campaigning on the basis of our independent political views as individual voters.”

Delna called on Marcos to appoint new BTA members only from the “MILF-Hashim Salamat wing.”

Officials of the MILF-led BARMM decried Delna’s move, and labeled him and his followers as “peace spoilers.”

A furious Ebrahim, who succeeded Hashim as MILF chairman, warned, “We know you, and our people know your hidden agenda. You will not succeed as you have not succeeded in the past in all your attempts to derail the peace process and take over the fruits of all the struggles of our people.”

The MILF central committee, in a statement, confirmed that Delna was suspended from the MILF for his “overt political acts of supporting a local candidate in Maguindanao who continues to undermine the peace process, the MILF, and the transitional government.”

Delna’s son, Saad, ran for mayor of Mangudadatu town, Maguindanao, in the May 9 elections under an alliance led by Maguindanao Governor Mariam Sangki Mangudadatu. 

Saad lost to former Maguindanao representative Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu’s brother Freddie. 

Toto, who lost when he challenged Mariam’s reelection bid, and Freddie were the candidates supported by Ebrahim’s United Bangsamoro Justice Party (UBJP).

The MILF committee said the political assertions of Delna were lies, and “devoid of any revolutionary principles and designed solely to secure personal political favor at the expense of the organization and its leadership.”

Ebrahim said the MILF remains one solid front intact with its principles of consultative collective leadership.

Ebrahim and the MILF central committee also called on the government to follow what was agreed under the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB), and comply with the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

They said the Marcos administration should not allow Delna’s group to spoil the gains of the peace process.

Malacanang has been silent about the BARMM and the fate of the interim BTA members.

Days before Marcos assumed the presidential post, the MILF sent Malacañang a list of its 41 nominees for extended terms in the BTA. 

The MILF nominees are the following:

  • Ahod Ebrahim
  • Akmad Abas
  • Haron Abas
  • Basit Abbas
  • Mudjib Abu
  • Eddie Alih
  • Mosber Alaudin
  • Ibrahim Ali
  • Lanang Ali Jr.
  • Matarul Estino
  • Dan Asnawie
  • Ali Pangalian Balindong
  • Maleiha Candao
  • Safrullah Dipatuan
  • Suharto Esmael
  • Abdullah Gayak
  • Eduard Guerra
  • Abdullah Hashim
  • Mohagher Iqbal
  • Raisa Jajure
  • Sha Elijah Dumama Alba
  • Abdulraof Macacua
  • Abdullah Macapaar
  • Marjanie Macasalong
  • Baileng Mantawil
  • Naguib Sinarimbo
  • Tawakal Midtimbang
  • Hussein Munoz
  • Suwaib Oranon
  • Ubaida Pacasem
  • Abdulwahab Pak
  • Said Salendab
  • Benjamin Loong
  • Ali Salik
  • Said Shiek
  • Aida Silongan
  • Ramon Piang Sr.
  • Mohammad Yacob
  • Mary Ann Arnado
  • Amroussi Macatanong
  • Ali Solaiman

Rappler.com

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