Vice President Jejomar Binay on Sunday said efforts to bring peace in Mindanao will succeed only if the slain 44 police commandos killed in Mamasapano, Maguindanao are given justice.
Binay expressed concern about the alleged statements of Presidential Peace Adviser Teresita Quintos-Deles that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) cannot be blamed for the bloody encounter.
“I am deeply saddened by the statements attributed to Secretary Teresita Deles in a newspaper report today. If the statements are accurate, it shows insensitivity at the very least,” the vice president said.
He was referring to a story that appeared in The Manila Times about a recorded conversation between Deles and Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, where the former allegedly justified the MILF’s response to the entry of police commandos who were in Mamasapano to capture Bali bomber Zulkifli bin Hir, also known as Marwan, and Filipino bomb maker Abdulbasit Usman.
“Secretary Deles is so eager to rush the approval of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) that she is willing to ignore the tragic deaths of the 44 Special Action Force (SAF) members,” Binay said.
“She also went to great lengths to justify the actions of the MILF which we find very unfortunate. How can one justify the brutality inflicted on the wounded SAF officers who were shot in the head and stripped of their uniforms and personal effects? That it is not the MILF but a cabinet secretary defending the brutality is disturbing to say the least, he added.
Binay said he supports the peace efforts in Mindanao but emphasized that it should come with justice.
“I believe we cannot achieve peace without justice and accountability. All the more reason not to rush the approval of the BBL,” he said.
The vice president previously said an all-out war must be avoided and that any peace agreement should be in consonance with the Constitution.