ZAMBOANGA City Mayor Celso Lobregat said the ongoing peace process between the government and Moro rebels is shrouded with secrecy and non-transparency.
He said the entire government panel headed by Undersecretary Rafael Seguis that has been talking peace with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) did not show up at the congressional hearing last Monday, as Malacañang had apparently not given the official the clearance to appear.
The congressional hearing was conducted in relation to a bill filed by first district Congresswoman Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar, urging the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process to disclose specific details concerning the renewed peace talks with the MILF.
Lobregat, who attended the hearing, said the MILF spokesman, North Cotabato Vice Governor Emmanuel Piñol and Presidential Peace Adviser Annabelle Abaya, among other personalities, attended the hearing.
He also said that Tomas Cabili, an earlier member of the peace panel representing the non-government organization, has been marginalized as mere consultant of the peace talks.
"Even Secretary Abaya herself did not know about this until I told the congressional committee," Lobregat lamented even as he urged the government peace panel not to exchange document yet with the MILF until a consultation is conducted on the ground.
Lobregat was reacting to reports that there had been an exchange of drafts between the government and the MILF panels during the resumption of the peace talks in Malaysia last December 2009.
Abaya, however, had refused to talk about the supposed drafts during the congressional hearing, the mayor said.