Palace rejects Basilan probe

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The government has turned down calls for an investigation of a clash with terrorist that left 18 soldiers dead last Saturday in Basilan.

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Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. on Tuesday said a military inquiry will not be appropriate at this time because operations against the Abu Sayyaf Group are ongoing.

“We understand the grief and pain of the widows and bereaved families of our brave soldiers who fought courageously and died in line of duty. However, it is inappropriate, in the meantime, to ‘probe’ the encounter on Saturday, as there are still continuing and ongoing operations,” Coloma told the media in a text message.

“The AFP’s [Armed Forces of the Philippines] focus is on neutralizing and disabling these lawless elements,” he said.

Coloma issued the statement after families of the 18 slain soldiers sought justice and demanded a military probe of the carnage.

Military authorities declined to discuss with reporters details of the 10-hour encounter with Abu Sayyaf bandits.

The AFP earlier confirmed that Moroccan bomb expert Mohammad Khattab and Ubaida, son of Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, were among those who were killed in the Basilan gunbattle.

The clash also left at least five terrorists dead.

Meanwhile, 56 soldiers and 20 Abu Sayyaf members were wounded.

The soldiers were sent to capture the elder Hapilon at Sitio Bayoko in Barangay Baguindan when they were ambushed by the terrorists.

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  1. Dapat magkaroon ng investigations sa nangyari at base sa mga news report nakipag coordinate Dao Ang AFP sa MILF tungkol sa Mil operation nito. Mechanism dao ng Peacetalk yan.? Kundi ba naman utak monggo yung ginawang coordination at yan mga Abusayaff ay Meron mga Kamag Anak sa MILF. Na Leak yan Mil Operation na yan kaya nakahanap ng Killing Zone Ang mga Kalaban. Anong Malay natin Joint Forces ulit yan ng MILF tulad sa nangyari sa AL BARKA BASILAN. Hindi nyo na mahanap yung mga Leaders ng Abusayaff at nasa loob na yan ng MILF. Sa nakita ko sa TV parang nagpaparada ang mga Mil Vehicles patungo sa Target Nila. Maling Mali talaga at bakit pina una yung Charlie Pltn ng 44IB at puede naman ipauna yung Tangke De Gulong at bakal yon na puedeng protektahan Ang mga Sundalo. Minimal sana Ang casualty pag ganyan Ang systema O di Kaya yung Scout Rangers Ang ginamit at lalakad yan sa Gabi at gagamitin Nila yung high terrain at never dadaan yan sa Open Terrain. Minadali Ang Operation at Baka gusto mag Chief of Staff agad at mag retiro na si Gen Iberri. Dapat investigahan yan at Court Martial Ang mga Palpak Utak Monggo!