Senator Marcos suspends all Bangsamoro Basic Law hearings following clash in Maguindanao

Press Releases
25 January 2015

The Senator condemns the dastardly massacre of 30 Philippine National Police members in Maguindanao.

Bongbong Marcos Suspends Bangsamoro Hearings PR

Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. today orders the temporary suspension of all discussions and hearings related to the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

This transpired after reports were received of the massacre of at least 30 members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Special Action Force (SAF) in an ambush by members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Mamasapano town in Maguindanao on Sunday.

Marcos, who chairs the Senate Committee on Local Government, likewise strongly condemned the use of violence by the MILF against the government forces who were on the hunt against suspected international terrorists believed to be hiding inside one of the camps of the Muslim rebel group.

“I decided to suspend indefinitely all discussions and hearings related to the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law until this is clarified. We cannot in conscience, proceed with these hearings while a cloud of serious doubt hangs over the security situation in the south. A peace agreement cannot be legislated under the threat of such extreme violence. Violence has no room in a civilized society."

Reports disclosed that the SAF members were sent to the area to serve warrants of arrest against Malaysian bomb maker Zulkifli bin Hir, known as “Marwan” in barangay Tukanalipao, and Basit Usman, a Jemaah Islamiyah bomb-making expert.

Von Al Haq, Vice Chair for Military Affairs of the MILF says the SAF team did not coordinate with the proper authorities before they entered the area. Al Haq defended the action of the MILF saying the action of the SAF was a clear violation of the peace agreement entered by the Philippine government with that of the MILF.

Marcos Jr counters Al Haq’s defense saying that the SAF was given a legitimate mission and even without coordination, the MILF could have easily arranged to talk with the SAF.

“I condemn the use of violence by the MILF. They signed a peace agreement with the government, and therefore, the MILF is already a partner of government. Hence, even without coordination, they should have exercised great patience and caution. Those police officers were there to arrest a terrorist. They were just doing their jobs. It was not an attack on the MILF. Lethal force was clearly not necessary” Marcos adds.

"I am anxious to hear from the MILF leadership as to how we move forward from this. This MILF attack on government forces is a major obstacle to the long and lasting peace we have been working for in Muslim Mindanao.

I am greatly saddened by this terrible event. I pray we find a way forward," Marcos concludes.