De Lima urges MILF to show good faith, commit to surrendering troops

By , on February 25, 2015


Justice Sec. Leila De Lima at the Senate hearing on the Mamasapano Clash (Photo courtesy of Sen. Grace Poe's Facebook page)
Justice Sec. Leila De Lima at the Senate hearing on the Mamasapano Clash (Photo courtesy of Sen. Grace Poe’s Facebook page)

MANILA – Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) can show good faith by committing to the government that they, in due time, will surrender rebel soldiers who were involved in the bloody January 25 battle in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

De Lima told reporters that although it is, at the moment, beyond the power of the administration to force the MILF into surrendering its troops, the MILF can commit to doing so at the appropriate time.

“That would be a palpable sign of good faith,” de Lima said.

“Napakalaking confidence-building measure ‘yan kung ngayon pa lang magpahayag na sila na kaya naming i-surrender o kaya kahit sasabihin muna nila isu-surrender na rin sa tamang panahon,” she added.

(It is a very big confidence-building measure if they say this at this poin that they have the ability to surrender the troops or at least seven if they say that they would surrender them at the right time).”

The justice secretary stressed that the government cannot yet compel the MILF to surrender the troops involved in the clash which led to the brutal massacre of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos, because the probe into the circumstances surrounding the botched operation is is still ongoing.

“May tamang panahon para diyan, kapag meron nang kaso o complaint sa amin for preliminary investigation,” de Lima pointed out.

(There’s a right time for that, which is when a case or complaint has been filed before us for preliminary investigation.)

Meanwhile, presidential adviser on the peace process, Secretary Teresita Deles, said that they will exert pressure on the MILF troops who took part in the encounter to surrender upon receiving a go-signal from the Justice Department.