Report that president paid off insurgents
President Benigno Aquino 3rd reportedly gave 5 million pesos (US$116,000) to Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Chairman Al Haj Murad Ibrahim during their secret meeting in a hotel in Tokyo, Japan on August 5.
Reports said that it was Malaca?ang peace adviser Marvic Leonen who handed the P5-million check to Murad.
Palace deputy spokesman Abigail Valte would neither confirm nor deny the transaction.
“I will have to check the details on that,” Valte told reporters during Tuesday’s briefing. She said, however, that if President Aquino did give P5 million to the MILF leader, it would be for social alleviation, education and other needs of the Muslim people.
But sources said that it was possible that the money was used to buy guns and ammunition.
Malaca?ang earlier said that the P5 million was ordered released by Mr. Aquino specifically to be used for the Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute (BLIMI), a mechanism intended to train young Muslim leaders and proposed by the MILF during earlier negotiations.
There were other reports, though, claiming that the money was not given during the President’s surreptitious visit to Tokyo, but during a meeting of the government peace panel and its MILF counterpart sometime in August.
MILF sources, meanwhile, said that Murad was hoping that the peace process would continue but he was disappointed by recent developments in Mindanao.
The sources said that the MILF leader was particularly dismayed by the decision of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to launch massive operations in several areas following clashes that left 19 soldiers dead. One source, identified only as Abdulrakhman, claimed that Murad was ready for war should the government decide to discontinue peace negotiations.