By Amita Legaspi | GMA News Online
Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr on Wednesday scored what he called a gag order on government officials as regards the encounter between members of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force and Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Mamasapano, Maguindanao which led to the death of 44 policemen.
“Ang problema kasi nagkaroon ng gag order ang gobyerno. hindi ko na makausap si (MILF) chairman (Mohaguer) iqbal, hindi ko makausap ang PNP commanders, hindi na sumasagot ng tawag. So there is, I think, although hindi formal, pero there seems to be a gag order and that doesn’t help,” Marcos told reporters before the start of the session.
Marcos is the head of the Senate committee on local government which is leading the hearings for the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law. He suspended the hearings pending clarification on the incident.
At least 44 PNP-SAF members were killed while 12 others were wounded in an encounter with MILF and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, a splinter group of MILF, in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last January 25. They were supposed to arrest Zulkipli 'Marwan' Hir, one of the most wanted Jemaah Islamiyah leaders operating in Southeast Asia.
Marcos said he was supposed to asked the officials on what really happened over the weekend and what should be done to prevent it.
“What we need to know here is facts, kailangan natin malaman ang talagang katotohanan kung ano ba talaga ang nangyari. Yun ang unang hakbang bago natin maayos yung BBL para nga mailagay kung anumang amendment, kung anumang probisyon ang kailangan para hindi na mangyari ito, para magkaroon ng tunay na kapayapaan sa Muslim Mindanao,” he said.
“I want to ask how do we move forward from here and what is your view, ano ba talaga ang iniisip nyo? Ano sa palagay nyo ang advice na maibigay nyo sa amin para mas pagandahin ang BBL para hindi na mangyari ito ulit,” he added.
He said he wanted to ask the PNP commanders who ordered them to push through with the operation, what is the intelligence report they received which was their basis for entering the community and why there was no reinforcement.
“Pati yung Armed Forces kailangan nating malaman ano ang kanilang pananaw sa mga pangyayari dahil nakapaligid ang Armed Forces sa area na yun,” the senator said.
“I cannot contact anybody from the PNP. I spoke to Secretary (Teresita) Deles Monday but I haven’t gotten hold of her since. All of the people that I need, I asked the Executive Secretary (Paquito Ochoa) for whatever info he had, he wasn’t able to give it saying he was busy with the situation,” Marcos added.
He said what he has now is very little information from official sources.
“Lahat ng information na alam ko is unofficial, mga taong ayaw magpakilala, ayaw magpakita pero pinupuntahan ako at maraming sinasabi,” he said.
“I hope that they will come forward and be very forthcoming and transparent. Ang kinatatakutan ng iba baka gagawan ng storya. Wag na natin masyadong iniisip kung ano ang PR dito,” he said.
Marcos said he wanted to be clarified on the real relationship between the MILF and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters. He said maybe it is also time to include the BIFF in the peace talks.
“Kung sinasabi na hindi ito aksyon ng MILF kundi aksyon ng BIFF hindi kaya dapat isama natin sa peace process yung BIFF. Kung sila ay nanggegera pa rin sa Pilipinas, kahit maayos ang usapan natin sa MILF, kung nanggegera pa sa atin ang BIFF wala yung ating kapayapaan,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Senator Bam Aquino said the incident should be used to fine-tune the BBL but nobody should be spared from liability on the 'misencounter.'