Mamasapano: No theatrics

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ENOUGH of the theatrics, we’ll get down to business.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. and Basilan Rep. Jim Hataman-Salliman, who heads the House Committee on Peace,Rreconciliation and Unity, said this on Monday, or a day before the House of Representatives resumes its inquiry into the January 25 police mission in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

The operation carried out by the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) resulted in the killing of international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan. Over 60 people, including 44 members of the PNP-SAF, were also killed in an ensuing gunbattle.

The congressional inquiry was initially shelved pending release of findings of the PNP-Board of Inquiry, the Senate Committee on Public Order and the special investigation committee of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).


“We’ll have it [in a]more orderly [fashion]this time,” Belmonte said in a text message.
Salliman said the committee would not invite President Benigno Aquino 3rd to the two-day hearings that were set after almost two months since the House opened its inquiry. Families of the policemen who were killed in the Mamasapano mission were invited to serve as resource persons.

Congress drew flak from the public after its first hearing on February 11 saw congressmen stepping on each other’s toes in their bid to hog the limelight.

Salliman said they would not allow their colleagues to use the congressional inquiry to as a platform for grandstanding.

“We are not after the emotions. What we want to achieve is to get outputs for the Committee Report that will provide justice [to the 44 Special Action Force policemen]. If the manifestation is all about emotions, then we won’t allow it,” he noted in a separate interview.

A joint congressional panel allocated two days for the inquiry.

“We have spent enough time for the outpouring of grief and all sorts of emotions. And those feelings were perfectly understandable,” Salliman said.

But for Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat, the vice chairman of the House peace, reconciliation and unity panel, they would be wary of repetitive questions as these would only mean rehashed answers.

“What the committee has to decide [on]are the areas of investigation [that]are yet to be adequately covered by the voluminous [PNP-BOI] report and the Senate investigation. If we will be asking the same questions all over and getting the same responses, the hearing loses its value,” he said.

“There should be more order in the hearing. Otherwise, we will be the laughing stock of the people,” Baguilat added.

Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano, vice chairman of the House public order and safety committee, agreed that there is no room for mistakes.

“The members have learned from what happened in the past and we have agreed that the hearing should go smoothly,” Alejano, a former Army officer, said.

Meanwhile,the Malaysian-led International Monitoring Team (IMT) has found that both government troops and the MILF violated a ceasefire agreement during the bloody Mamasapano incident.

Findings of the IMT were presented by government peace panel chairman Miriam Coronel-Ferrer in a news briefing also on Monday.

The IMT is a multinational body headed by Malaysia, the peace-talks facilitator, and is responsible for monitoring implementation of agreements between the Philippine government and the MILF.

It said ceasefire protocols were not observed during planning and executing of the mission.

There is probable cause to assume that the PNP-SAF troops were the first to open fire, which is a violation of the Agreement on the General Cessation of Hostilities regarding aggressive actions, an IMT report on the findings said.

“This indicates a ‘full firefight rather than a mere uncoordinated movement,’” the IMT report added.

The report stated that the MILF did not violate international humanitarian law by carrying out summary executions but noted that the group “should have respected their counterparts and the SAF commandos.”

There was not sufficient evidence that MILF combatants were responsible for the summary executions of the police troops since there were no witnesses, it said.

The IMT reported that there was no evidence that the MILF as an organization coddled Marwan and Filipino terrorist Abdul Basit Usman but considered the possibility that some of its members may have been aware of the whereabouts of the two fugitives.

The report highlighted the lack of coordination between the SAF and the MILF during the operation.

“AHJAG [Ad Hoc Joint Action Group] can inform CCCH [Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities] less than 24 hours before or within reasonable time for civilian evacuations and to avoid armed confrontation between GPH [Government of the Philippines] and MILF forces,” it said.

Civilian protection under the ceasefire agreement was violated when two civilians were killed during the firefight, according to the IMT report.

“Most MILF fighters carry firearms while interacting with civilians, adding confusion to law enforcement agencies and which could result [in]civilian casualties,” the report said, adding that the police commandos failed to take precautions to protect civilians.

The IMT recommended that the PNP and MILF combatants found to have committed crimes should be penalized under Republic Act 9851 or Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide and Other Crimes Against Humanity.

To resolve the issue or deter future similar cases from happening, it said, the government should coordinate and initiate use of conflict-prevention mechanisms available when launching law-enforcement operations in known MILF areas and a higher ranking PNP officer should be assigned to the CCCH.

The IMT also recommended that the MILF should strengthen its command and control among its ranks as well as intelligence in its organization.

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6 Comments

  1. The hell with this report led by a team from LANDGRABBER Malaysia. pati monitoring team eh sila pa din? At ‘International’ pa kuno. PAKIALAMERO TALAGA ITONG GUBYERNO NG MALAYSIA. AbNoy, Leonen, Delesm Ferrer, Drilon, Belmonte, Lacierda, Coloma, Valte, Abad, Umali, Roxas, Evardone, atbp. Punta na kayo sa Malaysia at magconvert na lang kayo sa Islam. Ooopsss, wag limot na isama sa inyo si Robin Padilla… hehehe

  2. It evident that the report coming from Malaysia is bias. Muslims protect fellow Muslims even if it is very clear from the start that MILF cuddled Marwan who happened to stay there for several years already before the SAF take actions to capture him dead or alive. Why should the SAF not coordinate with the MILF regarding the operation to capture Marwan? Common sense dictate that you can’t capture Marwan if you tell the MILF your intention. Why did MILF by hook or by crook tried to finish all the SAF involved in the MAmasapano operation even killing some at close range? Again it is Imperative for MILF to cover up their trails that they have been giving refuges to a terrorist all along through several years. They are afraid it might jeopardize the peace talk . They are afraid that they have no reason to justified Marwan existence in their territory. And most of all they do not like to loses the opportunity that they will gain if peace talk pushes through . A whooping 30 billions pesos coming from the majority Christian Filipino and most of all a belligerence status which will give them enough clout in the future if ever war erupt again in Mindanao between MILF and the central government. The right to ask help from other Muslim states to support them with logistics , financials and even foot soldiers . Because it give the other rouge Muslims state the rieqsonto support them given that they have , A state of belligerence that they acquired from this government .This I’m really afraid that we cannot allowed that Mindanao to disintegrate and be separated as a independent states of MILF . Neither would Christian living in Mindanao will allowed it . So more bloods will be spilled over a wrong decision if ever the peace talk and BBL pushes through . Its a God warning that this Mamasapano incident happened . I personally believed that God allowed this to happen for a purpose . We must not be blinded and rushed into signing , but further evaluations and enhancement on the BBL must be given priority to protect the Philippines sovereignty and rights.

  3. Ang mga uwak na negosyante ay umaaligid-ligid lang at iyan ang nagtutulak na maipasa agad ang BBL, habang athanggang ang utusan nilang si Aquino ay na nanatili sa palasyo, lahat ng pakinabang ay agad nilang masasamsam!
    Hindi ang pangunahin nila ay kapayapaan,kung hindi ang sarili nilang interest!
    Kaya lahat ng mga piniling uto-utung kilalang tao na may interest din at magiging peace panel kuno!
    Peace summit kuno!minamadali lang nila!!
    Dahil ayaw mawalan!!

  4. Dapat wag isali sa usapan ang mga Malaysian!
    At mag-isip ng libong beses,bago ipasa ang BBL,kung ipasa man dapat ang lahat ng Muslim sa lugar ay kasama sa usapan at sa lahat ng desisyon!
    Hindi na natin mababawi ang sabah!dahil magiging depensa at extension ng Malaysia ang sakop ng BBL!
    Laging tatandaan mas matimbang ang pananampalataya sa ano man bagay!
    Kailangan magkaroon ng kontrol ang pilipinas sa ano man usapan,upang maiwasan ito!
    Mas mabuting may kapayapaan,kaysa sa ano man bagay,pero dapat ilagay sa tama at mabuting saligan!

  5. Ha ha ha ha ha! “No court-admissible evidence” daw na hindi nagbibigay ng board-and-lodging ang MILF sa mga IED-bomber tulad ni Arwan. Hindi ata nila tinanong ang Malaysian intelligence, ang interpol, ang Indonesian intelligence.

  6. “Sabi ng IMT na both the Phil govt Troops and the MILF violated the Ceasefire agreement sa Bloody Mamasapano Incident”. Tignan natin: sino ba ang nag approved ng PNPSAF Operation? Di ba si Pinoy! Alam ni Pinoy na meron existing ceasefire agreement between the Phil govt and the MILF, pinatuloy Nya ang SAF Operation. Di sya ang me Sole Responsibility at Culpability dito! So ano ang gagawin ng MILF ngayon at si Pinoy ang nag Utos sa SAF operation na alam Nya meron existing existing Ceasefire agreement? Mag file ba ng case ang MILF against Pinoy? Abandoned the peace accord? Or what? Pinoy nagback fire sa iyo ang problema sa bloody Mamasapano incident at ikaw ang nag approved sa SAF operation. Double death na yan BBL! Sa CAB pa lamang meron ng FRAUD nangyari at Hindi tunay pangalan ni Iqbal at nationality na gamit sa actual signing ng CAB. Good Bye BBL!