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Alvarez S. Isnaji backgrounder

June 20, 2008 4:02am

Tags: Sulu
The kidnappers of broadcast journalist Ces Drilon and three others -- who were taken by suspected Abu Sayyaf Group members in June 8 -- chose Indanan, Sulu mayor Alvarez S. Isnaji as their negotiator.

Isnaji, a Moro National Liberation Front leader who used to be loyal to MNLF founder Nur Misuari, is running as governor for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao this August.

He served as speaker of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Regional Legislative Assembly during Misuari's term as regional governor. He temporarily assumed the post of acting governor position when Misuari went on official leave from September 3 to October 11, 2001.

In 2001, a local court granted Isnaji's petition for a temporary restraining order that blocked then ARMM governor-elect Parouk Hussin from assuming the region's gubernatorial post. Isnaji's group argued that under the ARMM charter, Hussin's term could only start in 2002 since he was elected almost a month after the supposed start of his term. The Supreme Court eventually ruled in favor of Hussin.

Isnaji formed one of the three factions that broke away from the Misuari-led MNLF in 2002. The MNLF under Misuari alleged that Isnaji's group was financed by the Philippine government. Libyan Ambassador to the Philippines Adam Salem brokered the unity of these factions in 2003.

Last year, Isnaji ran and won the the mayoral race in Indanan, Sulu under the administration's Team Unity. He is currently head of the League of Municipalities in Sulu.

In April this year, Isnaji declared that he recognizes Cotabato City mayor and former MNLF secretary general Muslimin Sema as MNLF's new chair after its Central Committee in a meeting in Pagadian City replaced Misuari with Sema.

(Sources: GMA News,,, BusinessWorld, Mindanews)
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Tags: Sulu