by Jamal Ashley Abbas

The humiliating arrest of Indanan Mayor Isnaji Alvarez, a ranking member of the Moro National Liberation Fron (MNLF) is a slap on the face of the MNLF and the Bangsa Moro.

Alvarez, using his stature in the province, insured the safe release of Ces Drilon and her companions. And for that, he got arrested and charged of kidnapping.

How many successful rescues against the Abu Sayyaf had the military done ? Very few and with huge casualties. Allegedly looking for Fr. Bossi in Basilan, 10 of its Marines were beheaded and some killed. Yet Fr. Bossi was not even in Basilan. He was in a totally different province and region — in Lanao.

The Ces Drilon kidnapping is the most successful negotiation ever in Abu Sayyaf kidnappings. This was only possible because of Isnaji’s political stature in the province and armed followers. The military, police or other Abu Sayyaf groups did not dare sabotage the negotiations as they would be in for a fight.

After the successful outcome, Isnaji and son were flown to Manila upon the pretext of bringing them to the President in Malacanang for congratulatory ceremonies. Instead, they were arrested and charged.


The Isnajis were so taken by surprise. They did not even have a lawyer. Atty Francisco presented himself as the lawyer of the Isnajis. Reportedly, he was sent by Senator Legarda.

According to the lawyer, as broadcasted on TV, Ces and her crew were brought to Isnaji’s house after they were released by the kidnappers. It was around 11 pm. The military and police wanted to take immediate custody of them but Ces and her team refused.

Why did they refuse? Ces knew the situtation there and she knew that anything could happen if they went with the military in the dead of night.

I hope our brillant Moro lawyers would take the cudgels for Isnaji. If my brother Jun Abbas were alive, he would be right there in the limelight fighting for Isnaji, who was his friend.


The humiliation of Isnaji is the humiliation of the MNLF and the Bangsa Moro people. Perhaps this will be a lesson to the Moros. The MNLF cannot expect anything from the government despite the Jakarta and succeeding agreements.

Opposition leader and former President Erap keeps on repeating and boasting that the MILF should be finished off (tapusin) by the government. He reminds the people of his “all-out war” against the MILF. It appears that the only way for the MNLF and MILF is to return to each other’s arms and re-unite. That would be applauded not only by the Bangsa Moro but by the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC).