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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Hold, make MILF accountable for atrocities!



SEN. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos 2nd, chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government, and Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, chairman of the House Ad Hoc Committee on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), deserve praise for suspending the public hearings by their respective committees on the BBL.
That’s an appropriate action after the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) ambushed and killed about 50 policemen who were trying to arrest two suspected terrorists in Maguindanao. Are the suspected terrorists also MILF members? Why were they hiding in MILF “territory”? Why do they seem to be enjoying MILF protection?
Based on initial comments by DILG Sec. Mar Roxas suggesting “misencounter” and “miscommunication,” I wouldn’t be surprised if the administration of BS Aquino The Last, I mean The Third, would even blame the slain police commandos for their sad fate. It did this two years back when it charged several Marine officers for the ambush of their men while trying to arrest a wanted terrorist in Al-Barka, Basilan. The Aquino administration faulted the soldiers for not coordinating with the MILF before entering the latter’s “territory.” The same issue is now being raised in the latest MILF atrocity.
In a number of columns, I wrote that the MILF could show good faith in the peace talks by surrendering the suspect in the beheading of already dead soldiers in another ambush preceding the Al-Barka incident. It did no such thing but the administration saw nothing wrong in this. Instead, it placed the blame squarely on our brave soldiers and officers.
There was no Bangsamoro yet then but the MILF was already given complete rein of their territory with the acquiescence of the Aquino administration. Things will not go any better once the MILF gets a bigger “territory,” thru the BBL endorsed by the uncaring administration. Fears that the proposed Bangsamoro substate will be off-limits to our soldiers and policemen once it becomes a reality are not completely unfounded.
I don’t know why the situation has come to this. If Erap were still president, this wouldn’t have happened. He never recognized any MILF territory and waged a vigorous successful military campaign to capture MILF camps. Now, what the MILF had lost in that military campaign ordered by Erap, it has regained thru peace talks initiated by BS Aquino The Last, I mean The Third. Worse, MILF has even got more political and economic muscles.
Senator Bongbong and Congressman Rodriguez said they will suspend all hearings on the BBL until they receive a report on the official investigation of the Maguindanao ambush.
“We agreed that in deference to those who have died, especially the policemen, we will suspend our hearings for the afternoon session and discussions on certain provisions of the Bangsamoro law going forward unless we get explanations from concerned government agencies [on the violent incidents],” Rodriguez said in a news conference.
Muntinlupa Rep. Rodolfo Biazon, a former chief of staff of the armed forces, initiated the timely and fitting move to suspend all hearings by the House panel.
Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano also deserves praise for withdrawing as co-author of the BBL measure. Cayetano said the “slaughter” of about 50 policemen has led doubts to MILF’s commitments to peace in Mindanao. He said that the MILF should have shown good faith by surrendering the two international terrorists sought by the policemen.
Cayetano believes that the passage of the BBL measure in Congress has been jeopardized by the latest Maguindanao massacre. Some 13 senators have signed as co-author of the measure, enough to pass it in the 24-man chamber. If more senators will follow Cayetano’s move, and I hope many will, then the approval of the BBL that’s being avidly pushed by the administration could indeed by in jeopardy.
If I were Marcos or Rodriguez, I wouldn’t be contended with the mere receipt of an official report on the ambush by the MILF. I would demand an official apology by the MILF and the handing over pronto of the wanted terrorists by the MILF to Philippine authorities. The MILF should also be held accountable for this atrocity. Our slain heroes wouldn’t get any justice until the MILF does these things.
And if the MILF washes its hands, then the BBL should be thrown to the wastebasket where it properly belongs. The death of about 50 policemen should prick the conscience of the administration and stop giving support to a group that refuses to recognize duly constituted authorities.
Or, does the President merely consider our soldiers and policemen completely expendable?
19espiloy47@gmail.com

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