Senator Vicente Sotto III, during today’s Senate Local Government committee hearing regarding the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law, walked out the hall after Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s chief negotiator alias Mohagher Iqbal refused to reveal his real identity.
“I don’t know about the others, but the BBL is a very important piece of legislation,” Senator Sotto said during the televised hearing. “I prefer discussing it with persons that I know. So therefore I will just talk to you, mister chairman, during the plenary.”
After airing his position, the senator then walks out.
The Moro rebel alias Mohagher Iqbal maintains the position that his real identity be not known until the BBL is passed. “When the BBL is passed by Congress and hopefully ratified, that will be the time everything will normalize and we will disclose that.”
“We use nom de guerre to protect myself, my family, and the struggle. If I was harmed and killed, perhaps I would not be here in this august body,” the Moro rebel said. However, when scrutinized by Senator Escudero, it turned out that other members of MILF negotiating panel use their real names.
For Senate President Franklin Drillon revealing his real identity can be an important “confidence-building measure” that can alleviate doubts on the organization’s sincerity and commitment towards peace.