Public trust for the MILF will totally collapse if charged members will not be surrendered — Marcos

Cracks in public trust for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) continue to widen and a total collapse of confidence looms if the group will continue to defy the law.

This was the reaction of Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to the statement of MILF Vice Chairman for Political Affairs Ghadzali Jaafar that they have no plans of surrendering their fighters who will be charged criminally for their involvement in the Mamasapano incident last January 25 where 44 Special Action Force (SAF) troopers were killed.

“Vice Chairman Jaafar’s statement clearly shows no respect for the rule of law and a blatant disregard to the feeling of the people crying out for justice for the SAF (Special Action Force) killed by the MILF fighters in Mamasapano. This will not help in regaining the people’s trust in them,” Marcos said in a statement.

Earlier, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima had announced that around 90 MILF fighters, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, and Private Armed Groups were recommended to be criminal charged by a panel composed of members of the National Bureau of Investigation and prosecutors from the Department of Justice that conducted a probe on the Mamasapano incident.

“If the MILF leadership will not surrender their members, then the belief that they are protecting wanted criminals and terrorists will be reinforced,” Marcos said.

He said the government through the peace panel should take a clear stand and state categorically that under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro and the framework agreement duly signed and recognized by the government and the MILF as legally binding for both parties, the state can arrest MILF members charged with criminal offense under the existing laws of the land.

The Mamasapano incident happened while the Senate Committee on Local Government, chaired by Marcos, and an ad-hoc committee of the House of Representatives were separately conducting public hearings on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law, a measure that will create a Bangsamoro political entity to replace the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Marcos said the bloody incident and the MILF’s refusal to own up to the responsibility for the death of the government troopers have made the public furious and cast doubt on the sincerity of the MILF in talking peace with the government and the wisdom of passing the BBL.

The MILF has refused to admit coddling fugitive international terrorist Zulkipli bin Hir, alyas “Marwan,” and his local cohort, Basit Usman. Marwan was killed during the SAF January 25 operation in Mamasapano while Usman managed to escape.

The MILF has repeatedly threatened legislators that war will erupt anew in Mindanao if the BBL will not be passed.

Lately, it was also discovered that the name “Mohagher Iqbal” is an alias of the head of the MILF peace panel, but he stood firm in refusing to reveal his identity saying that by doing so would endanger his life and the safety of his family.

Marcos though pointed out that revealing his true name would not change his security situation since he has come out in the open years ago and millions of people have seen him on TV.

“These gestures only create fear that the MILF is not sincere while talking peace. If the MILF cannot cooperate on such a fundamental and important issue as joining the government to apprehend wanted fugitives, how much more on the far ranging and complex problems of Bangsamoro governance?” Marcos said.

He added: “The MILF’s non-cooperation will bring into question the wisdom of continuing with the BBL hearings.”


Related news:

ABS-CBN News Bongbong slams MILF’s refusal to surrender men
Interaksyon Marcos: Jaafar’s stand not to surrender members shows no respect for rule of law
Manila Standard Today Marcos hits MILF defiance
Back to Blog