WE have no objection to the notion that the pursuit of lasting peace in Mindanao must not cease until it is achieved. But we reject the Malacañang campaign—supported by the Foreign Powers and the United Nations—that the so-called “peace process” has reached the penultimate step to achieving peace in Mindanao because the Bangsamoro Basic Law bill has reached Congress and MUST be passed even with its unconstitutional provisions.
The 44 heroes of the PNP-Special Action Force were massacred in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, last Sunday by Moro Islamic Liberation Front soldiers, supported by an army of the jihadist Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters. The MILF leaders call the BIFF a break-away group but BIFF actions show they are not. President B. S. Aquino and his people mealy-mouthedly call the massacre of the 44 PNP-heroes a “misencounter.”
A mis-encounter is an unfortunate battle between forces of the same army or between allies. Sunday’s massacre was clearly not a mis-encounter. The PNP-SAF officers and men were out to serve a warrant of arrest to two internationally notorious, feared and wanted terrorists, the Malaysian “Marwan” and his Filipino BIFF/MILF partner Usman. The PNP-SAF troopers did and in fact, according to the government spokesmen they succeeded in killing Marwan and cut off his pinkie so the FBI using DNA technology could determine that the man is really Marwan.
But their ambush and massacre happened when they were already leaving the area where they had done in Marwan.
And according to President Aquino himself “the data shown to me by both the AFP and the PNP say they were not in an MILF camp.”
So why did MILF soldiers, reinforced by BIFF fighters, surround our 44 PNP-SAF heroes and massacre them?
Having signed a “Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro” and other supposedly serious documents, and working with the Philippine government to achieve peace by passing the BBL, why did the MILF leadership allow their soldiers gleefully move to decimate our PNP-SAF commandos?
We agree with Auxillary Bishop of the Manila Diocese, Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo, who chairs the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines’ Permanent Committee on Public Affairs. He said on Radio Veritas that “there is no point in speeding up the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) following the Mamasapano massacre.” Instead he stresses that justice must first be served to the victims and their bereaved.
Bishop Pabillo also said the priority for government now is to go after the “suspected terrorists” responsible for the carnage and mutilation of some of our 44 PNP-SAQF heroes.
Calling the massacre a “mis-encounter” negates Bishop Pabillo’s correct idea. Even the MILF leaders—although their words cannot always be trusted—have promised to punish those who committed barbaric acts against the PNP commandos they had killed.
In addition, Mr. Aquino’s frenzied push in Congress to pass the BBL deserves to be halted because experts, more credible and respected than President Aquino and his peace-process team of salesmen and saleswomen, see grave violations of the Philippine Constitution in the draft from Malacañang.