By Roel Pareño
Saturday, October 27, 2007

ZAMBOANGA CITY – The pardon granted by President Arroyo to former President Joseph Estrada is already setting a precedent as officials of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) are seeking the same clemency for their jailed leader Nur Misuari, an official said here.

MNLF information officer Hadji Charlie Apostol, quoting Cotabato Mayor Muslimin Sema, said in a statement that the same pardon and privilege should be extended to Misuari.

Sema is the concurrent MNLF secretary general.

Misuari has been held under house arrest longer than Estrada on charges of rebellion for attacking the military headquarters in Jolo, Sulu in November 2000.

Misuari escaped to Sabah but was intercepted by Malaysian authorities and handed over to Philippine authorities.

Unlike Estrada, Misuari has not been convicted of the crime and the Philippine government should consider his immediate release, according to Apostol.

The MNLF leadership said the release of Misuari will pave the way for genuine and lasting national reconciliation, especially in Mindanao.