Press Release
September 5, 2008

Dureza, Esperon and Garcia should be charged of treason -- Jinggoy urges

Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada yesterday said two Cabinet members and a ranking official of the government peace panel negotiating with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) should be charged of "treason" for misleading the Philippine government to sign the controversial Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD). Estrada said Dureza and Esperon apparently have knowledge of the "unconstitutional provisions" of the MOA-AD with the Muslim secessionist group that were "kept secret" from the public.

According to Estrada, Dureza and Esperon should be sacked after Mrs. Arroyo disbanded the government panel negotiating with the MILF, led by retired Lt. Gen. Rodolfo Garcia.

"Dureza, Esperon and Garcia could even face treason charges for selling the Filipino people, particularly the citizens in Mindanao," Estrada stressed.

He said Dureza, Esperon, and Garcia "misled" not only the Philippine government, but also the Filipino people to sign an agreement that is "grossly disadvantageous" to the nation.

"It is public knowledge that Dureza was the former peace adviser and Esperon as the current peace adviser, were consulted by Garcia regarding the provisions of the MOA-AD, and they did not object to the one-sided provisions that favored the rebels," Estrada said.

The MOA-AD will expand the jurisdiction of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao with the addition of 735 predominantly Muslim villages, which will dismember several towns and cities in Mindanao to pave way for the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity or BJE.

Protesting local officials and residents complained that the government negotiators did not consult the residents that would be affected by the creation of the Bangsamoro homeland.

The protesters asked the Supreme Court to declare the MOA-AD unconstitutional which prompted the Court to issue a temporary restraining order last August 4 to stop the signing of the agreement.

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