InterAksyon – Marcos tells MILF to disclose relationship with militant BIFF

By Ernie Reyes | InterAksyon.com

InterAksyon_featured_imageMANILA, Philippines – In order to move forward in deliberating the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., on Monday asked the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to explain its relationship with the militant Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

At a press conference after the hearing on the constitutionality of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), Marcos clarified that the Senate is not turning its back on the peace process, but some critical things need to be clarified to boost confidence rebuilding measures between both sides after the bloody incident in Mamasapano.

Marcos said that the most important gesture that the MILF can offer, is to explain fully and clearly its true relationship with BIFF.

“Because if the BIFF is continuing to fight the government, we cannot possibly have peace. No matter how deeply we come to an agreement with the MILF, if there is still an armed group waging war against the government, then this elusive thing we are searching for,” which is peace,€” will never be,” Marcos said.

“If they are together, then that will be a sign of bad faith on the part of MILF. That has to be determined. That is an extremely important point. Because we do not know who we are dealing with, at this point, unless this is clarified,” he added.

Marcos also said that the MILF should provide assistance in finding and arresting the suspected bomb-making expert Basit Usman, who was the secondary subject of the SAF team that went to the area in Maguindanao to serve a warrant of arrest.

“Thirdly, they must demonstrate that the disarmament process has actually began, that they are willing to lay down their arms and give those arms not to their own commanders but to a third party or to the government,” Marcos said.

He added that they must identify the commanders whose units were involved in the massacre of our SAF men.

“Because these units have to be identified by the MILF, the commanders must be asked to explain how this happened. And for them to do that, again, it will be a very important sign of good faith,” Marcos said.

Marcos said that this does not only apply to the side of the MILF, “for there requires gestures also from our government.

“The government must explain how, on their part, this all transpired,” Marcos said

First of all, the government should shed light on the question of chain of command during this operation.

“We do not understand, nobody can understand, how it is that such a very major operation of a big group of our forces was ordered to be undertaken without the acting Director General of the PNP knowing?” Marcos remarked.

“How is it possible that the DILG Secretary also did not know? Now we hear from the Palace that the President knew. We also hear about the possible involvement of the suspended PNP Chief, Director General Alan Purisima. What does this mean?” Marcos said.

“Because there is no use talking to somebody who has no influence, who has no authority. And if we are talking to a certain individual in government, certain officials in government, who turn out to be, as in this case, out of the loop, then who are we talking to?” Marcos asked.

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