THE Department of Justice (DOJ) is bent on filing appropriate charges against those who took part in the killing of 44 elite police commandos on January 25 in Mamasapano town, Maguindanao province, be they members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) or any armed group.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Tuesday said the signing of the protocol on decommissioning between the government and the MILF on January 29, or four days after the massacre, will not deter them from indicting the suspects.
“The amnesty and pardon provision will not apply. It doesn’t cover that particular incident. In fact, when we talk of amnesty, there are certain requirements that should be met, including conviction,” she told The Manila Times.
A source earlier said with the recent signing in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, of the protocol on the decommissioning of MILF fighters and weapons that contains a provision on “confidence-building measures,” the government may eventually offer amnesty to separatist commanders, including those involved in the Mamasapano carnage.
But de Lima believes that it was not correct to assume that MILF rebels who took part in the massacre can go scot-free.