Senators on Tuesday ordered the Office of Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process to get a copy of the investigation report of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) regarding the Mamasapano incident.
This developed as they adopted Senate Resolution No. 1240, which Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. had filed on Monday, expressing the sense of the Senate to direct the government peace panel to request from the MILF and the International Monitoring Team (IMT) a copy of the probe report.
The MILF conducted its own investigation on the January 25 bloody clash where 44 members of the Special Action Force of the Philippine National Police were killed by the combined forces of MILF and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
Marcos said Senate Resolution No. 1240 clearly directed the government peace panel, chaired by Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, tasked to broker peace with the MILF to secure a copy of the report either from the MILF or the IMT.
Also on Monday, Marcos separately wrote Maj. Gen. Dato’ Sheik Mokhsin Bin Sheik Hassan, Head Mission of the IMT; Katrina Auditor, program assistant of Third Party Monitoring Team; Chairman Mohagher M. Iqbal of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, Justice Secretary Leila M. De Lima, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Sec. Teresita Quintos-Deles, and Ferrer similarly requesting a copy of the MILF report.
Marcos filed the resolution and sent the request letters after the MILF submitted its investigation report not to the Philippine government but to the Malaysian-led IMT composed of representatives from Japan, Indonesia and Brunei.
He said the MILF should furnish the government Philippine government a copy of the report in the spirit of trust and transparency and in order to strengthen the ceasefire mechanisms that may be included in the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) pending in Congress.
Marcos, chair of the Senate Local Government Committee, said the document will be vital in the panel’s April 13 resumption of deliberation of the proposed BBL since the proceeding will focus on the ceasefire mechanism between the government and the MILF.
“What I would hope to find in that report would be exactly what were the mechanisms within the MILF, even including whatever contact with the BIFF or any other armed groups,” he said.
He said the MILF report is even critical in the BBL hearing as he intends to dig deeper into the circumstances why the “total” ceasefire came in very late in the afternoon when most of the SAF troopers were believed to have already been killed.
“We would then be able to identify where the weak points are and strengthen those weak points; and use those lessons that we learned and put that in the form of amendments or additional provisions in the BBL,” Marcos said.
He added: “The whole point of the BBL is to avoid this kind of thing, this kind of incident as happened in the Mamasapano. That is central to the entire reason for having a BBL.”