Duterte meets Misuari as court allows him to travel abroad
President Rodrigo Duterte has admitted that he "talked" to the court to allow Nur Misuari, founder of the Moro National Liberation Front, to travel abroad.
Duterte made the admission in his speech in Zamboang City on Sunday.
"Now Misuari came to me in my office the other night because he wanted to go out. He was not allowed. He has a case," Duterte said.
"I talked to the police, also the military, also the court to allow him (to travel abroad). I guaranteed that he will come back," Duterte added.
Duterte met Misuari in Malacanang on February 25 for 15 minutes.
The Third Division of Sandiganbayan where the Muslim leader has pending cases, granted Misuari's urgent motion to allow him to leave the Philippines on February 27 for Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates and Morocco.
Misuari is expected to return to the country not later than March 20.
Duterte expressed confidence that Misuari, a Tausug, would return in the country.
"Misuari, a true Tausug, would never allow that he be buried in a foreign land. That's for sure. That's why he will come back and hep us build a nation," he said.
In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo clarified that Duterte did not actually talk to any justice of the anti-graft court to allow Misuari to go out of the country.
He said Duterte virtually called the "attention of the court of his position on the matter so that it can be evaluated by the courts."
"Because if it means the survival of this country, then the President should do everything in his persuasive power to convince other branches that this is the better approach. But still ultimately, it’s the other branches that will decide for themselves," he explained. Celerina Monte/DMS