Drilon: Use of aliases should not hinder peace process

MANILA, Philippines – The use of aliases of the negotiator of the Moro Islamid Liberation Front (MILF) should not hinder the peace process, Senate President Franklin Drilon said on Sunday, April 19.

"Sa akin po, ang use of alias ay isang notion na hindi dapat sagabal sa isang peace process," he said in an interview over radio dzBB.

(For me, the use of alias should not disrupt the peace process)

The controversy stemmed from MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal admitting that he's only using an alias after he released his copy of Philippine passport. The move was in response to allegations that he is a Malaysian citizen.

Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. critized Iqbal's use of alias as it “mocks” and “jeopardizes” the peace process. However, Malacañang came into his defense, stating that there is no "deception" as government knew the real names of the negotiators

For Drilon, what is more important is that the rebel group recognizes Iqbal's nom de guerre.

"Kinikilala ba ng MILF si Iqbal bilang Chairman at ang kanyang pagpirma sa peace agreement? Obviously, ang sagot ay oo," he explained. "Hindi naman sinasabi ng MILF na babaliwalain nila ang peace agreement dahil sa nom de guerre ang ginagamit ng kanilang kinatawan. Sabi nila, si Chairman Iqbal ang aming kinatawan, and that should have put an end to the issue."

(Does the MILF recognize Iqbal as chairman and his signature in the peace agreement? Obviously, the answer is yes. The MILF did not say that they're going to abandon the peace agreement just because their representative uses a nom de guerre. They said that he is their represenatative and that should put an end to the issue.)

The Senate President added that there is no alleged deceit as elected government officials also make use of aliases, namely detained senator Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla. 

"Si Jinggoy Estrada, iba ang tunay niyang pangalan noong pumipirma siya sa Senado. May deceit ba agad doon? Wala naman. Si Ramon Revilla, Jose Mortel Bautista ang kanyang tunay na pangalan. May deceit ba agad doon?," he explained.

(Jinggoy Estrada uses a different name when he signs at the Senate. Is there deceit? None. Ramon Revilla's real name is Jose Mortel Bautista. Is there deceit?)

"Iyong ganyan naman po ay pinapayagan sa mga panukalang batas," Drilon added. "Hindi totoo na may nalilinlang, dahil hindi naman labag sa batas na pumirma sa peace agreement gamit ang nom de guerre."

(Those are allowed in proposed laws. It's not true that someone's fooled, because it's not against the law for someone to sign a peace agreement with a nom de guerre.)

However, the senator said that once the Bangsamoro Basic Law is passed and the Bangsamoro Transitional Government is established, the negotiators should use their real name in signing documents.

"Kung ganoon na, dapat iyong tunay na pangalan na nila ang kanilang gagamitin sa pagpirma," he emphasized. "Ganoon din sa kanilang passport, tunay na pangalan din dapat. Ngayon sa questions of identity, the document which indicates their identity ay dapat tunay na pangalan ang gamitin nila."

(If that's the case, they should use their real names in signing documents. The same goes with their passports, real names should be used. Now to the questions of identity, the document which indicates their real identity should contain their real names.) – Rappler.com