FIRST, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) put forward the alternative truth that aides of Zulkifli bin Hir or Marwan, rather than the SAF commandos, killed the international terrorist. To their surprise, President Benigno Aquino 3rd bought the line and went so far as to broadcast it in a media forum at one newspaper.
When the preposterous claim provoked much anger from the SAF and the Philippine National Police (PNP), and widespread anger and hostile commentary, President Aquino beat a hasty retreat, and declared that the exact opposite happened: the raiding SAF commandos in truth and in fact killed Marwan, and cut off his finger for identification by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the US.
What provoked the angry reaction was the one-two punch of Aquino casting doubt on the accepted version of the incident, and MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal mouthing the blatant lie that Marwan’s aide killed him.
The collusion of the president and the MILF in impugning the memory of the slain SAF commandos was too much for everyone to bear. And we all made this known to PNoy in no uncertain terms. He would have faced disobedience and rebellion in the ranks of the PNP and the AFP had he not reversed himself.
Another abomination and untruth
With the wounds from this ugly episode still fresh in our minds, there now comes another abomination and untruth, courtesy once again of our peace partner, the MILF.
The group says that the Mamasapano incident/massacre that took place last January 25 was deliberately staged in order to derail the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in Congress. Had the incident not happened, the law would have been passed because the legislature was all set to approve it.
In an editorial posted on the MILF Web site “Luwaran,” the rebel group charged that while President Aquino was fully committed to the primacy of the peace process, there were spoilers who worked to stop the BBL from passing. They substituted the Basic Law on the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BLBAR), to stall the legislation.
They named Congressmen Celso Lobregat of Zamboanga City as the leader of the spoilers in the House.
They also criticzed Sen. Bongbong Marcos for leading the opposition to the BBL in the Senate, and substituting his own version of the proposed bill.
It is both troubling and farcical that nine months after the incident, there are those who cling to the notion that there is an alternate version of what happened in Mamasapano.
With this new alternate truth being floated by the MILF, we must hope that President Aquino will be similarly quick in tamping it down. It makes no sense for the SAF to mount the operation against Marwan for the purpose of stopping passage of the BBL. Remember that Oplan Exodus was Aquino’s baby.
To build a future together
After banishing this new alternate tale, it will be better for Congress, the Aquino government and the MILF to join together in effecting the passage of a constitutional and workable law for an Autonomous Bangsamoro Region.
This will find support among our people if presented properly and earnestly.
This is within the realm of the possible because all sides want peace in Mindanao and all want an enabling law that will unleash the full creativity and potential of Muslim Mindanao.
The hard reality is this. Tragedy happened on January 25 in Mamasapano, and it took many lives, of PNP-SAF commandos and rebels alike.
The challenge now is to transcend this reality and build a future together.