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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

MANDAUE CITY, Cebu – Administration senatorial bet and former Presidential Political Adviser Francis Tolentino has blasted former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chair Nur Misuari for threatening to wage war if the proposed shift to federalism won’t push through.

In an ambush interview in Mandaue City, Cebu on Thursday, Tolentino said it was improper for Misuari to issue such threat against the government.

“Medyo mali nga,” said Tolentino right after Hugpong ng Pagbabago’s (HNP) proclamation rally inside the Mandaue City sports complex.

Tolentino admitted that there was a need to renegotiate with Misuari’s camp even though the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a splinter group of the MNLF, has forged the Bangsamoro peace pact that led to the creation of the new autonomous region.

“That will close the loop. That will shorten the gap, we need to bring in all stakeholders on the (negotiating) table,” Tolentino said.

The former mayor of Tagaytay City said he expects the Senate to revive the move for a shift to federalism through the revision of the 1987 Constitution as sought by the President Rodrigo Duterte, Misuari and other Muslim leaders in the country.

He explained that the peace process may be a long and tedious one but the national government should be supported in pursuing it.

Tolentino appeared optimistic about the chances Congress will pass a new Constitution that would embody a shift of government system to federalism right after the May 2019 polls.

“That (proposed Charter Change) will be revived. I believe they are preparing for a 65-seat Senate,” the senatorial candidate noted, referring to the construction of the new Senate building.

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