Senate Hearing on BBL to resume on Aprile 13: MILF report made public after Sen. Bongbong’s request

Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government today says he intends to resume hearings on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), three weeks from snow or April 13, after the Holy week.

Marcos announced the resumption of the hearings after he received a copy of the investigation report today of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on the Mamasapano massacre. The report was coursed thru the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) and its cover letter was signed by no less than BTC chairman Mohagher Iqbal.

“I respectfully submit herewith a copy of the full report of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) investigation on the Mamasapano incident, in rsponse to your request for said transmittal in your letter dated 9 March 2015”, Iqbal was quoted in his letter.

Iqbal said the report was officially submitted to the Head of Mission of the International Monitoring Team (IMT) in Cotabato on March 22. However, in a news article, the IMT denied ever receiving a copy of the report.

Marcos welcomed the submission of the report saying that this is a good restoration of cooperation by the BTC with the Committee.

“Since I have received the MILF report and I already have the report of the Board of Inquiry and also the Senate report, I can now resume the hearing on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law.”

The submission of the report came after Marcos requested a copy from Major General Dato Sheik Mokhsin Bin Sheik Hassan, the head of mission of the IMT along with Katrina Auditor, program assistant of the Third Party Monitoring Team, Justice secretary Leila de Lima, Presidential Adviser on the Peace process Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles, Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, chair of the government’s peace panel and Iqbal.

With all reports at his desk, Marcos expressed satisfaction and convinced that the BBL hearings should now resume. The first item in the agenda, says Marcos will focus mainly on strengthening the ceasefire mechanism to prevent a repeat of the Mamasapano massacre.

“We need to strengthen the ceasefire mechanism. Because what happened in Mamasapano was, as early as 5:30 a.m. to 6 a.m. on that Sunday, the MILF was already told that it’s the government troops that they were firing at. But the total ceasefire was only achieved around 4 pm., that’s almost 11 hours. If it only took 11 minutes to implement the ceasefire, then, some lives could have been saved,” he said.

He was referring to the bloody Sunday of January 25th where 44 Special Action Force troopers of the Philippine National Police, 18 MILF fighters, and 5 civilians were killed in a clash in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

The policemen were conducting an operation to arrest Malaysian terrorist Zulkipli bin Hir, alyas “Marwan,” and his Filipino cohort Basit Usman.

The senate report called the killing of the 44 SAF members as murder, while the MILF called the incident as a misencounter.

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