Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Justice for slain SAF - Recto

MANILA-If it is true that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is harboring them, they should surrender a Malaysian bomb maker and his Filipino sidekick, the hunt for whom led to the massacre of 44 police commandoes in an MILF-influenced area in Maguindanao Sunday, Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto said today.

“Giving up Marwan and Usman is the only way that public belief on the MILF’s sincerity in pursuing peace can be restored and for the peace process to move forward,” Recto said.

He was referring to Malaysian bomb-maker and top Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, known as Marwan, and his local cohort, Basit Usman, who were the targets of the waylaid Special Action Force (SAF) team.

“Of paramount importance to all Filipinos is justice for the slain SAF,” Recto said. He expressed hope that the Board of Inquiry will come up with results soon.

“Fact is, the incident has hit a major stumbling block in the peace process. The only way to reboot it is for the MILF, if indeed it is tolerating the presence of Marwan and Usman, to give the two the boot,” Recto said.

“Any group in talks for permanent peace with the government should not be giving sanctuary to terrorists,” Recto said.

“It should not allow zones it control to be used as rest and recreation areas for wanted fugitives who by their skills and bloody curriculum vitaes present a clear and present danger to the nation,” Recto said.

Recto said even if reports are true that the two terrorists were actually in areas controlled by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), “then the MILF should not side with the BIFF but assist the police and the military in apprehending them.”

“If the MILF wants to be our BFF, then they should stop playing footsies with the BIFF,” Recto said.

If Sunday’s bloodbath was a result of the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) failure to coordinate with the MILF, as the latter had insisted, “there would still have been no need for the police to arrest them if the MILF had not allowed them to stay there in the first place.”

Recto said the MILF must undertake “grand confidence-building measures” to win back the public whose trust and support are needed for the “last mile of the peace process to succeed.”

“The BBL, the peace process have become collateral damage of Sunday’s massacre.  The fastest way to recover from the setback is if the MILF will partner with the government in arresting Marwan and Usman,” Recto said. 

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