Senators seek probe into Maguindanao clash, want MILF to surrender terrorists

By , on January 27, 2015


Senate of the Philippines (Wikipedia photo)
Senate of the Philippines (Wikipedia photo)

MANILA – Senator Jinggoy Estrada on Tuesday filed a resolution seeking Senate probe into the deadly Maguindanao clash that claimed 49 policemen even as Senator Ralph Recto urged the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to surrender to surrender a Malaysian bomb maker and his Filipino sidekick.

Estrada, who is detained for plunder charges, filed Senate Resolution No. 1134 urging the committees on public order and dangerous drugs; peace, unification and reconciliation; and, local government to look into the matter in aid of legislation.

“There is a need to review the conduct of this particular police operation and to revisit protocols that have to be followed to prevent failure and misfortune in the future,” Estrada said in the proposed resolution.

The resolution aims to find out whether the function of serving warrants of arrest should solely be handled by the Philippine National Police (PNP) when a person involved is an international terrorist.

The PNP Special Action Force (SAF) members were serving a warrant of arrest to Malaysian bomb expert Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and a suspected local bomb maker Basit Usman when they reportedly encountered the MILF and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) elements in Mamasapano town in Maguindanao.

Recto said surrendering Marwan and Usman is the only way that the MILF can convince the public that it is sincere in pursuing peace in Mindanao.

”If it is true that the MILF is harboring them, they should surrender the two bomb experts,” Recto said.

”The fact, the incident has hit a major stumbling block in the peace process. The only way to reboot it is for the MILF, if indeed it is tolerating the presence of Marwan and Usman, to give the two the boot,” Recto added.

Earlier, Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano urged the MILF to show its sincerity in the ongoing peace process between the MILF and the government by giving up not only the terrorists, but their comrades who killed the 49 elite forces of the PNP.

Senator Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel III, a lawmaker from Mindanao, said the bloody incident that took place at the height of the Senate hearings on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) “must be denounced in terms that are most condemnatory.”

”Those responsible must be sanctioned pursuant to law immediately. The incident, however, must not be used as an excuse to dump the peace talks between the government and rebels,” Pimentel said.

Senator Teofisto ‘TG’ Guingona III, also from Mindanao, urged the public not to jump to conclusion yet, urging the government to get to the bottom of what has transpired in the deadly encounter.

”Let’s get to the bottom of this. Let us not jump to conclusions immediately. This is really lamentable but we should not let emotions rule as at this point,” Guingona said.

Marwan reportedly has a USD 5-million bounty from the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).