THE government has to go after the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) members responsible for the killing of 44 police commandos and have them jailed to prevent them from possibly joining the police force once the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is passed by Congress, Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said o Sunday.
The chairman of the Senate Committee on local government said there is a provision in the pending measure that allows MILF members to be trained and converted into a police force.
Marcos was referring to Article 11, section 2 of the BBL which establishes the Bangsamoro Police, which shall be part of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
The article provides that “the Bangsamoro Police shall be professional, civilian in character, regional in scope, effective and efficient in law enforcement, fair and impartial, free from partisan political control, and accountable under the law for its actions. It shall be responsible both to the Central Government and the Bangsamoro Government, and to the communities it serves.”
This means that if the BBL is enacted into law without first identifying and charging the MILF fighters behind the killing of the Special Action Force commandos in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
Under the proposed law, the chief of the Bangsamoro Transitional Assembly (BTA) Mohagher Iqbal, during the transitional phase of the BBL, will have the power in choosing the head of the Bangsamoro Police force.
“Where will Iqbal get his police force? Obviously, he will do so from the ranks of the MILF. So, members of this rebel group will now be policemen under the Bangsamoro Police. And being members of the PNP, these former MILF fighters will be trained possibly even by the SAF,” Marcos said in a radio interview aired over DZMM.
He also cited a provision in the BBL which says that the head of the BTA, during the transitional phase, has the power of “selection, employment and deployment” of existing PNP forces in areas considered within Bangsamoro claimed territories.
Furthermore, the proposed BBL states that Bangsamoro police is restricted only to defend the Bangsamoro Republic since BBL members are not required to take an oath or affirmation to uphold and defend the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines.
Articles 16, section 5 and 11 of Section 17 of the BBL contains coordination protocols with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, which are actually restrictions on the movement and deployment of military personnel.
Marcos has suspended committee hearings on the BBL while various bodies are investigating the Maguindanao clash.