ZAMBOANGA CITY, Zamboanga Sibugay: A Roman Catholic priest, who claimed the government paid Muslim rebels a huge amount of money to recover the firearms of slain police commandos, has been under attack in the Internet and dubbed as “a liar” and “immoral preacher.”
“Eliseo Jun Mercado, sobra ang kanyang pagsisindi ng apoy upang masunog ang Mindanao,” reads a post in the social media.
“We Moros ay nagnanais ng kapayapaan. We don’t like war. We want peace. Ngunit hindi kami tatanggi ng labanan kung yan ang gusto ninyo,” the note said.
Father Mercado, who is based in Cotabato City, claimed the government paid the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to surrender the firearms of 44 Special Action Force commandos, who were killed in a clash with rebel groups in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25.
MILF Vice Chairman Mohagher Iqbal dened the claim and said the trurnover of the weapons was a gesture of their sincerity to the peace process.
Murad Ebrahim, the MILF chieftain, said they paid token amounts ranging from P1,000 to P3,000 to redeem the guns from rebels and civilians.
“They were token amounts,” he said.
Murad said the MILF would not surrender their members involved in the gun battle with the commandos because “as far as the ceasefire was concerned, I recalled that both parties should take charge of the imposition of punishment to their own people.”
He denied the MILF were involved in the killing of wounded commandos, which went viral in the Internet.
“Noon nangyari yung pagbaril sa wounded SAF, our men havealready withdrew from the area dahil nagkaroon na ng ceasefire,” Murad said.