Thursday, 05 July 2012 13:47
A high ranking Muslim religious leader has refuted a national daily newspaper that he was one of the signatories of the position paper of the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) on the participation of Sulu Governor Sakur Tan in the on-going GPH-MILF peace process, and their campaign/call to free Cocoy Tulawie, Prof. Alih Sakaluran Aiyub, the Salam and National Ulama Conference of the Philippines (SNUCP) secretary-general, told Zamboanga Today that he did not sign any position paper, as published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
The Inquirer reported that a number of Mindanao-based non-governmental organizations are calling on President Benigno Aquino III to revoke Executive Order (EO) 546 which they say has given rise to private armies, especially in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
In the report, the names of Professor Julkipli Wadi of the University of the Philippines’ Institute of Islamic Studies, Ismael Maulana of the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society and Prof. Alih Aiyub of the Salam and the National Ulama Conference of the Philippines (SNUCP) were among the signatories.
The statement was also urging President Benigno Aquino III not to make Governor Tan an observer in the peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). It said the EO only legitimized alleged private armies such as in Sulu under Governor Tan.
The group's statement also mentioned Cocoy Tulawie, a Jolo politician who campaigned against Tan’s perceived abuses in Sulu and in jail for his alleged involvement in assassination attempts on the governor.
"I respect the position of the CSOs and their campaign to free Cocoy Tulawie, though, but it doesn’t mean I share their views and position. For me, beingbstaunch advocate of peace and human rights; we must be inclusive when we talked about justice and peace," SNUCP secretary general said.
Prof. Aiyub urged, "We have to welcome as many as we can in building peace constituents, and the role of the local government officials the like of Governor Tan is crucial in bringing peace to Mindanao, for the fact that there are many spoilers in our midst."
He said that convincing the LGUs to support the peace process to succeed is what they need in this difficult time for the sake of their future—for a peaceful and progressive Mindanao. "Even the enemies of peace must be engaged to support the peace process, rather than isolating them, we might as well involve them in ironing out differences for the common good of all."
As for the case of Cocoy Tulawie, the religious scholar called on the people of Sulu to be calmed and trust their judicial system, "let the prosecution proves the guilt of the accused, and also let the defense proves the innocence of the accused, so that at the end of the day, all will say, 'Justice is served'."
"On our end, as we pride to the whole world our commitment to peace, justice, and human rights, we must work in unison to make our judicial system functional and efficient in rendering verdict for its primordial role in making our society respectful of the ‘Rule of Law’ not to become unruly putting the law into our own hands."
Aiyub further said that as his personal experience teaches him to discern, he has realized that some amongst them who make peace and human rights advocacy as a means to an end in furtherance of their political or self interests, they jeopardize the very essence of their commitment.
"When we work for peace, social justice, and human rights, we must strive to make it as an end in itself, not as a means for our selfish motive, but truly reflective of our people’s aspiration to make Mindanao a land of promise," he concluded.
by Hader Glang
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