CHURCH leaders on Tuesday called on the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to stop their “blame game” over the death of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos after a clash with combined forces of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, on January 25.
The Association of the Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP), through Fr. Dexter Toledo of the Order of Friars Minor, said both parties should exercise sobriety and prudence instead of pointing an accusing finger at each other.
Toledo advised the AFP and PNP to exhaust all means to correct mistakes that had been made, resulting in the death of the police commandos.
“Enough [of]the blame game. There are no perfect people. We all commit mistakes. What’s important is we admit the mistakes we have committed and find ways to correct them,” said Toledo, who serves as AMRSP executive secretary.
The clergy also enjoined Filipinos to be an “instrument of peace” so as to cool down heated emotions among top officials of the two security institutions of the government.
Toledo noted that the Mamasapano incident took place less than a week after Pope Francis’ successful apostolic visit, when Filipinos were still on a “spiritual high” after the papal encounter.
“It’s important that we reflect on what the Holy Father said about not having the answers to all the difficult problems of this world. While he does not have a ready response, his mere presence is more than enough to mitigate the pain and suffering we experience,” he said.
According to Toledo, leaders should make an effort to show their people that they are always with them, especially in times of crises.
The AMRSP is composed of 268 (women) and 88 (men) religious congregations all over the country.
The group earlier proposed the creation of an independent Truth Commission in the belief that peace “is founded on justice and mutual trust.”
It shot down proposals by some individuals and groups for all-out war against the Muslim rebels from the MILF and BIFF, saying“vengeance will never restore whatever is lost.”