PNP to MILF: Return commandos’ firearms

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Ninth day A nun lights candles and offers prayers outside the police camp in Quezon City as mourners observe the ninth day since 44 police commandos were massacred in Maguindanao. Some of the fallen policemen have been buried in their respective hometowns. Photo by Miguel de Guzman

Ninth day
A nun lights candles and offers prayers outside the police camp in Quezon City as mourners observe the ninth day since 44 police commandos were massacred in Maguindanao. Some of the fallen policemen have been buried in their respective hometowns. Photo by Miguel de Guzman

THE Philippine National Police (PNP) on Tuesday issued a strong demand for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Forces (BIFF) to return the firearms, equipment and personal belongings that were carted away from 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos killed in a bloody encounter in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25.

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“Gamit namin yun, dapat isoli nila. [Those things belong to us, they should return it],” Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina, PNP officer-in-charge, said in a radio interview.

Espina was reacting to reports that the firearms and other law enforcement gear of the fallen SAF members were being openly sold in Maguindanao.

The 800-strong Association of Generals and Flag Officers (AGFO) made a similar demand on Tuesday. The group said the return of the firearms and equipment of the massacred SAF members and the surrender of those involved in the carnage should be set as conditions for the resumption of the peace talks between the government and the MILF.

“The firearms and all equipment should be returned by the MILF. If they do not return those firearms then there’s lack of goodwill,” AGFO president retired Lt. Gen. Edilberto Adan stressed.

All the dead SAF men were divested of their firearms and other gear, including their personal belongings like cell phones. Photos showed that many of them were almost stripped naked.

SAF members are individually equipped with either a Glock 17 or Colt M1911 pistol and an assault rifle. During operations they also have with them sniper rifles, submachine guns and general purpose machine guns.

The standard Glock or Colt pistol costs about $500 to $600 (P22,000 to P27,000), or roughly P1.8 million for the 44 pistols, according to the PNP. The assault rifles, sniper rifles and other ordnance command a higher price.

Johnny Siao, the commander-in-chief of the National Border Command of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) wing that covers Southern Mindanao, said almost 100 high powered firearms from the SAF were stolen by the MILF and the BIF, including the Barret rifles used in the Balikatan training, 90 Recoilles rifles, AR-13 rifles, cellphones, boots and uniforms of the SAF team.

On the other hand, Ustadz Pendie Colano, over-all chairman of the Selatan State Revolutionary Command (SKSRC) a sub-wing of the MNLF, also told the Times that the MILF members who joined with the BIFF in the attack belong to the elite forces of the MILF that strongly reject the normalization process because they are against the decommissioning of their firearms as required under the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

“Yung mga MILF na kasama ng BIFF sa pag atake doon sa mga SAF ay sila yung mga MILF na ayaw isuko ang kanilang mga firearms pagkatapos na malaman nila na ang normalization process ay kasama pala doon ang pag surrender ng kanilang mga armas”, Colano said.

“Napaka imposibleng mangyari ang pagpapasuko ng armas mula sa mga MILF dahil lalong magkakaroon ng gulo pag ito’y ipilit ng Aquino administration,” he added.

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2 Comments

  1. If the PNP losses the battle, it also losses the rights of the weapons captured. That is true to whoever wins the battle.

  2. vagoneto rieles on

    I am embarrassed by this ‘strong demand’. It makes our ‘police’ look small and helpless..asking that the victors give back their spoils. “Were they playing some kind of game?” If the PNP and the President want their arms back, they must go back there and take it.