Former Marawi mayor to negotiate with Maute group

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Former Marawi City mayor Omar Solitario Ali has been commissioned by the government to negotiate with the Maute group, President Rodrigo Duterte announced on Saturday.

According to the President, Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza assigns Ali as negotiator with “acquiescence” and not “expressly.”

“Dureza, and I and [Defense Secretary Delfin] Lorenzana had a talk on the desire of Solitario to surrender ’cause he found out his name was on the list,” Duterte said in a press briefing at the Camp Evangelista Station Hospital in Cagayan de Oro City.

Ali’s name was previously included in the arrest order released by the Department of National Defense for alleged links to the Marawi siege. He reportedly sent a text message to government officials to facilitate a safe exit for the local terrorists stuck in the battlezone. The terrorists, in turn, will release their hostages.

Last June, his brother and former Marawi mayor Fajad Umpar “Pre” Salic was arrested for rebellion at a checkpoint in Misamis Oriental.

The President said Ali told them he’s better off working for him than being imprisoned.

“He proposed many things, mostly talking peace with Mautes, bargaining doon sa hostages. More ako doon sa release ng hostages. I confirm that it really happened,” Duterte said.