UP Law dean to head gov’t peace panel with MILF

LAWYER Marvic Leonen, dean of the University of the Philippines’ College of Law, is the new government chair in the peace negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Leonen told MindaNews that he thought about the offer for “a few days,” adding he had to “consider my work as dean of the College of Law, the status of the current negotiations and of course whether I had something positive to contribute. The latter includes whether I would be able to have the critical support of those that I have worked with in Mindanao as well as effectively dialogue with the key leaders of government.”

Leonen’s being a non-Mindanawon may be a concern to some but Presidential Peace Adviser Teresita Deles said the Mindanao problem should not be viewed purely as a Mindanao concern “because it is a Philippine problem.”

Leonen told MindaNews: “Yes, unfortunately I am not a Mindanawon, but I will be the emissary of the President representing the Government of the Republic of the Philippines.”

Mindanao’s peace advocates apparently see Leonen as an “excellent” and “brilliant” choice.

“Marvic as panel chair is excellent choice. He has both professional credentials plus ground experience. His personality is fit for negotiation and he has extensive experience with indigenous peoples,” said Redemptorist Brother Karl Gaspar, anthropologist and author of several Mindanao books.

Lawyer Mary Ann Arnado, secretary-general of the Mindanao Peoples Caucus, said Leonen as chair is “a brilliant choice.”

“I am overwhelmed with joy. His appointment could only mean that [Aquino] is serious about having a political negotiated settlement with the MILF. Leonen is highly credible, untainted in his advocacies and public service. He is one of the best legal minds on ancestral domain and right to self-determination,” said Arnado.

In a statement read for him by presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, Aquino reiterated his commitment “to a comprehensive, just and peaceful solution to the situation in Mindanao.”

“I have instructed the panel to review the past agreements and recommend how we can move forward cognizant of the limitations that both parties have to deal with. I view the negotiations as a dialogue to ensure that we can fully apprehend the problem and provide lasting solutions” Aquino said.

“I have asked the current Dean of the UP College of Law, Dean Marvic M.V.F. Leonen, who understands what this may mean, to facilitate the discussions with the MILF and to chair the government’s negotiating panel. The other members of the panel will be announced soon,” the president said. Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews

About admin

You must be logged in to post a comment Login