Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
The Philippine Government has finally filed charges against the leader of the group that had caused so much devastation and death to the people of Zamboanga City when it laid siege on it that lasted for more than 20 days.
The group, known as the Moro National Liberation Front, is led by Nur Misuari, with whom the government had entered into a treaty in 1996, granting them limited autonomy.
However, the government has lately been in talks also with another Muslim group, this time the Moro National Islamic Front, which may have upset Misuari and his own group, thinking they may be sidelined by whatever concessions or authority the other group may be able to get from the government.
This is believed to have triggered the siege that Misuari’s people waged in Zamboanga City that saw the flight and evacuation of thousands of residents who could not understand why they were being subjected to such threats and intimidation.
What Misuari’s men waged was not only a skirmish, but full-fledged battles that included the use of explosives, ambushes and bombings that caused the death of 244 and the wounding of hundreds more, as well as the holding of hundreds as hostages, that included innocent elderly and very young people who did not deserve to be treated as such in a conflict they had nothing to do with.
After the siege, when the government had given the all-clear signal, with the capture or surrender of several of Misuari’s men, the toll was found to be some 116,000 evacuated, with about 10,000 houses razed to the ground or destroyed.
The charges filed against Misuari and his cohorts include rebellion, arson, and illegal possession of explosives. At the moment, however, the leader himself is nowhere to be found, but let us hope that the long arm of the law ill catch up with him so he can answer for the lives and the properties he has destroyed, as well as realize that, even with what he had done, his right to due process is still being observed.*