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Massacre, not misencounter

  • Written by Bernadette E. Tamayo
  • Published in Top Stories
  • Read: 2011

BASED on the video showing an alleged Muslim rebel finishing off wounded police commandos, the Mamasapano clash between government troopers and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels was “clearly a massacre and not a misencounter.”
   
Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero stressed this point as he also condemned those behind the uploading of the video circulating on the social media showing the senseless killing of SAF officers which many described as execution by armed men allegedly belonging to the MILF.
   
He challenged he MILF leadership to prove its sincerity— that it is committed to peace—by surrendering those responsible for the killing of 44 SAF troopers in Barangay Tukanalipao, in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last January 25. Some members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, an alleged break-away group of the MILF, were allegedly also involved in the attack.
 
“Stop calling the Mamasapano tragedy a misencounter, as it is now clear that it was a massacre as revealed by the gruesome video showing how the SAF officers were brutally executed by armed men,” said Escudero in response to the assertion of Mohagher Iqbal, MILF chief peace negotiator that the Mamasapano clash was not a massacre but a “misencounter.”
   
Escudero has described as “disturbingly brutal and barbaric and has no place in a civilized society” the manner in which some of the 44 commandos were killed who were on a mission to arrest Malaysian bomb expert Zulkifli bin Hir and his Filipino counterpart Basit Usman.
   
“Conscience and humanity has totally escaped these people and justice must be exacted at all cost. I strongly challenge the sincerity and intent of the MILF: identify and surrender your men before the bar of justice. This is part of your commitment to the peace agreement,” he said.
   
“Now if you say they are not from your ranks but from the other armed groups, you are still duty-bound to identify and surrender these people who committed the crime,” he added.
   
Escudero also chided Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles for apparently “acting like the spokesperson: of the MILF instead of pushing the agenda of the Philippine government.
   
“Our peace panel representatives cannot toe the line of the government and at the same time be the mouthpiece of the MILF by saying they understand how difficult the situation is with the MILF. You are not between a rock and a hard place; you are in the government. Don’t forget that,” he reminded Deles.
   
Escudero said the quest for peace had already been a long and arduous process, considering the steps taken by the government to arrive at a peace agreement. “Now, we call on the MILF to do something, however difficult it may be for them, to help clean the gap and turn in the perpetrators of the Mamasapano massacre. As early as now, help clean the gap between peace and violence,” he said. 

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