Statement on the killing of SAF in Maguindanao
I would like to appeal, as a peace-loving citizen, to everybody to refrain from issuing statements that would foment hate and cause violent actions as a result of what happened in Maguindao.
It is always wise to stay calm and exercise sobriety especially at this time when the elusive peace in Mindanao is within reach.
While I understand the strong indignation amongst our people, our judgment on who is to blame should be based on facts and truth, which we, at this time, do not possess.
Pending the availability of facts surrounding the violent incident, I am holding in abeyance any judgment. Neither will I issue a conclusion pointing fingers at anybody. I hope everybody will exercise the same prudence.
I am calling for a probe on the incident to be jointly conducted by the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front using and applying the mechanism duly agreed upon under the ceasefire agreement.
I am also urging the peace panel from both sides to immediately reconvene and formulate either a framework or procedures that should be followed to avert a repeat of the bloodshed and other similarly violent incidents.
I would like to reiterate my earlier statement that precisely the reason why I decided to temporarily suspend all scheduled hearings on the BBL in Mindanao is because of the security concern. Secondly, it would not be prudent to continue discussion on this issue until the strong emotion generated by this incident has died down and the truth about this incident has come out.
Despite this, let me stress that I will continue my effort as chairman of the Senate Committee on Local Government in seeking a lasting peace and development for our brothers in Mindanao.