FORMER GRP PANEL CHIEF DUREZA:

SAF did not have to inform MILF

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The former chairman of the government panel who signed the agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on the handling of wanted criminals hiding in identified MILF enclaves yesterday said “coordination” was not required when government security forces were after “high value targets” like Malaysian bomb maker Zulkifli bin Hir, alias “Marwan.”

In an article posted in his Facebook page early Tuesday night, former In an article posted in his Facebook page early Tuesday night, former Press Secretary and GPH Peace Panel Chairman Jesus Dureza said, “In fairness to the SAF operations (against Marwan), the ceasefire agreement and the implementing guidelines between the GRP & MILF clearly never required prior coordination in operations against high value, priority targets.”

“Truth to tell, I had to go back to my records as I clearly remember that I signed as GRP panel chair in Oct 2001 with my counterpart, then panel (now MILF) chair Kagi Murad the Manual of Instructions for CCCH (ceasefire) and LMT (monitors) in Malaysia,” Dureza said in his post.

He added: “subsequently, the implementing guidelines and even the recent AFP/PNP operational guidelines clearly excluded operations against high value targets like Marwan & Basit Usman.”


“What I cannot understand is why up to now, Malacanang or the PNP higher headquarters have not released this vital information in fairness to our fallen SAF commandos,” Dureza said.

The former GPH Peace Panel head posted images of the documents he signed with Al Haj Murad in Malaysia, one of which includeS a page with the stipulation: “Except in operations against high priority targets, a list of which shall be provided by the GPH Panel to the MILF Panel, the AHJAG shall inform the GPH and MILF CCCH at least 24 hours prior to the conduct of the AFP/PNP operations in order to allow sufficient time for the evacuation of civilians and to avoid an armed confrontation between the GPH and MILF forces.”

Dureza’s revelation could further add fire to the already raging controversy resulting from the killing of 44 members of the elite Special Action Force (SAF) of the Philippine National Police by a combined group of MILF, BIFF and private armed groups in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on Jan. 25.

The SAF commandos were tasked to arrest Marwan, an international terrorist who carried a $6-M reward offered by the US Government, following a verified information that he was hiding in Mamasapano.

The SAF team which entered the area reported that they killed Marwan but the sound of the gunfire during the operation alerted the MILF and BIFF rebels in the area resulting in a firefight which killed 44 SAF members.

It was the biggest number of fatalities suffered by government security forces in the history of the country.

The MILF, who claimed they suffered 18 dead, said the fighting was a result of the lack of “coordination” by government troops with the MILF.

President Aquino, in a statement issued three days after the carnage, also admitted that there was lack of “coordination” in the operation.

The pronouncements by government that indeed there was no coordination with the MILF created confusion prompting some sectors to even criticize the PNP SAF for entering the MILF territory without prior “coordination.”

The MILF has also used the “lack of coordination” defense to justify the action of its men in the killing of the 44 SAF commandos.

It was not known if the Presidential Peace Adviser, who was believed to have briefed the President that there was supposed to be “coordination” before the operation, was even aware that the original agreement signed by Sec. Dureza and Al Haj Murad, now the MILF Chairman, clearly stipulated that “coordination” was not required in the operation against high value and priority targets like Marwan.

Dureza’s revelation could give justice to the fallen SAF commandos but it is also expected to complicate the raging issue which has stoked national outrage.

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7 Comments

  1. You are simply looking for justifications to exonerate BS Aquino on ordering to trample on the sacred grounds of the MILF.

  2. What about any available MD-520MG helicopter for close air support!? No excuses for everyone involved! We should put all our resources to support these heroes sacrificing their lives to make us all safe from terror.

  3. Salamat Mr.Dureza you clear up the coordination part.It not a misencounter,the SAF were ambush and massacred,Deles and Ferrer told P-NOY not to launch a rescue in order to save the BBL and appease the MILF.

  4. Thanks, Chairman Jesus Dureza, my hint all along is the MILF try to eliminate all the SAF that raided terrorist Marwan hiding place. Because they would like to cover up all the traces leading to their (MILF) doorstep that they on one side talk peace with the Philippines government on the other side try to protect international terrorist and criminal like Abusayaf. Now how can we filipino be at ease if we found out their true color. Again peace is ok but, it gave the MILF a belligerent statue. Supposedly BBL was approved and autonomous governance was given to them. And war again ignite between us and them. Can they ask for support from our Muslim neighbor . Bec. Today other Muslim state is silently supporting them , but cannot support soldier blatantly. But with the approval of BBL where will be . Will this agreement endangered the existence of our government or our country that we all try to protect. I know peace is the best solution but only if our counter part is sincere and can be 100% be trusted. But coddling criminal and terrorist . Our government must not only think so many times, they have to stop all these nonsense .

  5. Another question still unanswered — 3 or less kilometers away, there were over 240 SAF-PNP troops available to help the SAF44 — what happened to them? Did their radios get wet where the radios working? Did they lose the GPS coordinates?

    • to cocoy: i don’t the saf were lost or wandered in the area coz they have with them the locals or informants who are very familiar with the territory. i suspect that someone ordered for the other troops to stand down in order not to escalate the situation. and maybe, it’s really a high ranking someone, and saf knew that. coz, i don’t think napenas can afford to stand down with his troops at risk. the question: who was that official?