Senator Bongbong to MILF: Return SAF guns confiscated and help in the Capture of Usman

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Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos today urged the leadership of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to give back the arms, equipment and personal effects of those 44 slain SAF troopers seized during the incident in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Sunday.

He likewise called on the MILF to fully cooperate with government as security forces go after Basit Usman, the last remaining Jemaah Islamiya member wanted for a string of criminal cases filed against him in Mindanao.

Marcos, who chairs the Senate Committee on Local Government, says that he will allow the resumption of hearings on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) provided that the MILF leadership show sincerity in cooperating with government in the pursuit of truth behind the Mamasapano massacre of 44 cops in Maguindanao.

As partners for peace, Marcos says the MILF leadership should provide assistance in the capture of Usman as soon as possible. The MILF leadership has denied having Usman in their camps, although their rival group, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) says that Basit and even Zulkifli al Hir alias “Marwan” are still alive.

“ The MILF must show its sincerity as a partner of government for peace. The first gesture is for the MILF to return the arms, equipment and personal effects of the SAF troopers killed in last Sunday’s encounter. They should likewise assist in arresting Usman, a strong sign that they are against terrorism.” Marcos Jr says.

Marcos Jr promises to resume the hearings if the MILF show signs that it is willing to compromise and do what is necessary to recover the peace which was once taught to have been achieved already when the rebel group entered with a deal with government.

Aside from these, Marcos asked that disarming their men should begin after the panels of the MILF and government agreed in a weekend deal in Malaysia. The MILF should likewise provide government a list of their commandos whose units were involved in the firefight. Marcos also encouraged the MILF to “come clean” by clearing up their relationship with the BIFF, another armed group operating in parallel with them and the MNLF.
“ According to the US State department, BIFF is an international terrorist organisation. It has declared itself an enemy of the Free World when it announced that it is supporting ISIS. It is better for the MILF to again, explain if they and the BIFF, are just one and the same thing.”

As for the government, Marcos believes it is highly necessary for suspended PNP chief Alan Purisima to explain his role on last Sunday’s operation and admit if there was, indeed, a lapse or a problem in the chain of command.

Marcos says Purisima’s admission will help government, especially the Philippine National Police (PNP) in fixing operational issues such as what happened. “Purisima should explain before the people why this thing happened. He owes his ‘bosses’, us, an explanation.”

Ex-Senator and former presidential adviser Panfilo “Ping” Lacson blames former SAF commander Naperas for reportedly breaking the chain of command when he fails to give status report to his “higher-up” who is Purisima.

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