The Daily Tribune – Miriam: MILF rebels committed war crimes

By Angie M. Rosales | The Daily Tribune

The-Daily-TribuneSen. Miriam Defensor Santiago yesterday said that if required by military necessity, government armed forces in Mindanao should be authorized to enter rebel havens described by the existing ceasefire agreement as “areas of temporary stay.”

Santiago said that a new Philippine criminal law defines “military necessity” as “employing measures which are otherwise indispensable to achieve a legitimate aim of the conflict and are not otherwise prohibited by international humanitarian law.”

At the same time, opposition Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos yesterday criticized Malacañang for ordering the relief of military officers for making public statements their preference on government calling for a suspension of ceasefire agreement with the MILF.

“It would do well for the Commander in Chief to listen to his men on the ground and in the frontline at least as ardently and sympathetically as he listens to the leaders of the MILF,” the senator emphasized.

Marcos was referring to the case of Philippine Army spokesman Col. Antonio Parlade Jr. and Special Operations Task Force commander Col. Alexander Macario who were ordered relieved for airing personal opinions against the ceasefire pact with the MILF.

In the aftermath of last Tuesday’s incident in Basilan where 19 soldiers were killed, Parlade said the ceasefire with the MILF prevents government troops from going after those responsible for the deadly ambush.

The senator said the spate of killings in Mindanao that already raised to 23 the number of casualties from the government side in the last four days is not the kind of peaceful resolution government has continuously been seeking with the secessionist group.

“This is what Parlade wanted to underscore and was willing to risk being relieved from his post if only to bring this to the attention of his superiors and perhaps more importantly, to the Filipinos to whom the military is duty bound to protect and serve,”said Marcos.

“This is not peace at all nor is it a cease fire. They were atrocious attacks on our military. Whether as criminal acts or violations of the ceasefire, they must be made answerable for the deaths of our soldiers, swiftly and decisively.

“We must also not forget that there is a wide distinction between the rebels that must answer to the killings of our soldiers and the rest of the Muslim community, our Muslim brothers, who seek peace as much as we do.

“History has shown us that often times, unfortunately, peace is won in demonstrating that there is a heavy price to be paid by those that insist on war,” he added.

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