Old, forgotten and hounded, the once-great Nur Misuari, founder of the once-formidable Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), is now dealing his last card in Zamboanga City.
Zamboangueños woke up last Monday to his latest and what I imagine is his last caper as time and the tides of history dealt him an insurmountable blow a long time ago when he failed miserably as governor of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. Sidelined in the recent negotiations for lasting peace in Mindanao, he has resorted to the thing he knows best to get attention: blow his way into the national headlines.
His timing could not have been more impeccably suspect as protests against the scandalous multi-billion peso misuse of pork barrel funds is mounting and inching towards the doorstep of Malacañang. It does not take a rocket scientist, hence, to wonder if this Misuari misadventure in Zamboanga has been staged, complete with unlimited funding, to divert attention—and heat—from the capital. Even a lowly taxi driver told a friend and colleague of mine who rode with him, “When Misuari needs money, he goes to war.”
The question to ask therefore is this: Who is funding this little war that Misuari has foisted on the helpless people of Zamboanga? While Misuari may have some following in Sulu where his popularity among the older generation of the MNLF remains, I do not think those followers will risk whatever money they have to this caper that everyone knows will only end in pushing Misuari and whatever cause he is espousing further into the back-burner to be judged later by history. Old men tend to grumble when the latter and younger generation fail to notice what they want. But they do not go to war for it, not unless they have the guns and the bombs. And those cost money.