Palace livid at reports govt bought back SAF arms

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Malacañang has condemned reports that the government paid the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to return the weapons stolen from slain Special Action Force (SAF) commandos in Mamasapano last month.

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Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte slammed Father Eliseo Mercado for peddling “baseless accounts.”

“The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process is very disappointed at the allegations that have been made by Father Eliseo Mercado that the government purchased the weapons to make it appear that the MILF was returning it to government. We do not have any information on the basis of Father Mercado for saying those statements,” Valte said over Radyo ng Bayan.

“Let’s not muddle the issue. The fact is [the]weapons were returned . . . as a manifestation of their continued interest to be our partners in the peace process. In a climate like this, let’s be very careful about the information that we believe,” Valte added.

The Palace said government is also bent on getting back the firearms stolen by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) rebels who joined the MILF in fighting the SAF commandos in Mamasapano.

“When it comes to the call of the BIFF…if they don’t want to return the stolen weapons, we can look for other ways,” Valte said.

OPAPP Executive Director Luisito Montalbo said there is no truth to the reports that the government bought back the SAF weapons.

“We don’t know where that is coming from. Certainly, there is no truth to that,” Montalbo said. “We find it very disappointing that Fr. Jun, whom we’ve known for a long time and who used to directly engage our Office as a peace advocate, would come out publicly‎ with claims that are unsubstantiated and unverified.”

He branded the allegation as “wrong and also unfair to our ground forces, the ceasefire committees and international monitors who personally documented, facilitated and officially witnessed the retrieval of the weapons from the MILF.”

Nevetheless, Montalbo said his office’s legal unit has started looking into the allegations.

“We cannot allow such untruths and violations of our rights to go unchallenged. It is not just the name of the agency that is at stake, but hundreds of its employees who have no way to protect themselves from being maligned in this way,” he said.

At least 16 high-powered firearms were presented to the government on February 18 by MILF peace panel chair Mohagher Iqbal in Awang, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao.

WITH JEFRY M. TUPAS

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12 Comments

  1. basta Muslim lahat negosyo. Kung may gusto ka, bayaran mo. Walang bigay bigay sa kanila. Naniniwala akong may bayad ang mga baril na yan.

  2. Sino naman ang maniniwala na ang MILF na ibabalik yong
    baril na walang bayad. Ano ganon ganon nalang.

    The MILF and BIFF will never return those firearms for nothing.

    Tell that to the marines.

  3. The BIFF spokesman told Noli De Castro in his morning radio program that “like in boxing, they won the belt fare and square and that their rewards were the firearms taken from the SAF. If the GPH would like to get it back, they will give the GPH a Re-Match .”
    There was a story about a DPWH bulldozer working for road widening when it fell down a shallow cliff and inside a lot owned by a Muslim. When the DPWH men were trying to get back the bulldozer, the Muslim owner told them that they have to buy it back as whatever is inside and above his property is his.
    This are the thinking of Muslims and for this reason, Abigail, that I believed the story of Fr. Eli Mercado that the office of OPAC bought back the rifles of SAF as the MILF will not return this for FREE. Remember Mom 18 of their Figthers died in the Mamasapano incident. Kuha mo Mom Abigail ?

  4. pio g. lumongsod on

    fr. mercado, has been in Cotabato City for a very long time ,he already knows the culture,traditions and practices of the residents there at.

  5. Will a man who walks in God’s path tell lie? If proven, sanction him. If not, Palace is making thing looks worse.

  6. Father Mercado clearly stated his willingness to appear at the senate or any legal panel to defend his statements about the mamasapano debacle. Why not validate his claims to find out the truth.

  7. The return of the firearms would to some extent help assuage public outrage over the massacre. The most convenient way for the government to achieve this is to give the MILF adequate monetary incentives to do this voluntarily . It is not farfetched therefore that the arms purchase actually happened. The president himself should deny this categorically and not hide behind vague statement by palace spokespersons condeming the report without a categorical denial from the president himself.

  8. I do not know father Mercado but I wonder why on earth he made this revelation what could be his possible motivation. Are malacanang and the peace negotiators suggesting that fr.mercado is out to sabotage the peace process or that he is somebody’s lackey sent to discredit and malign these negotiators, no one seems to say so other than that fr Jun (they seem to know him well) is lying. I tend to believe the allegations of fr Mercado and the over protestations aired by valte (lady Gaga to many these days) just reinforces my belief. Truth to tell government people are now in a rut so deep it is no longer possible to trust what they say or do and they have no less than their fumbling idiot for a commander in mischief to thank for it.

  9. Peter Gonzales on

    Waaaaa!!! they were caught with their pants down. True they were partners in peace as they want the Filipino people to believe but actually they are partners in corrupting the minds of the people to gain support for their sham peace process. Ibasura ang bbl!

  10. Anytime a spokesman or spokeswoman of P’noy comes out to the media and deny the allegation – THERE IS 100% TRUTH TO IT – GUARANTEED!!!

    IT’S A PATTERN! – IT’S A PATTERN! – IT’S A PATTERN!

  11. Abnoy-noyingski on

    If you Montalbo does not want to believe…why did you need to look for the allegations kung wala naman kayong makikita dahil sure kayong wala? What for? Guilty? You should ask Eliseo Mercado to provide us proofs on the alleged pagbibintang! Yun lang yun! Di rin ako maniniwala habang di naglalabas ng pruweba. What’s fair is fair. Ngayon kapag napatunayan, ano naman ang balak nyong gawin sa susunod?