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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Charge MILF men in SAF killing, Senator Poe insists

Sen. Grace Poe



MANILA, Philippines – Senator Grace Poe reiterated her committee’s recommendation to file criminal charges against members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) involved in the killing of 44 police commandos in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, on January 25, 2015.

Poe insisted on holding MILF men criminally accountable for the killing of members of the Special Action Force after the rebel group submitted its own fact-finding report on the incident, which a joint Senate investigation described as a “massacre.”

The Senate report was signed by 20 senators though many of them said they might amend it when they tackle it in the plenary in May.

Contrary to the Senate report, the MILF’s investigation said their men were “justified in fighting back” against the SAF lawmen whom they accused of opening fire first.

While commending the MILF for completing its report and furnishing the Senate a copy of it, Poe stood by her committee report.

“The committee stands by its report,” she said in a statement on Wednesday.

“However, as I announced previously, amendments may be proposed and considered when we resume session in May,” Poe said.

She added, “How the MILF report should be treated, considering certain findings of fact which are contradictory to a portion of ours, shall also be discussed by the joint committees.”

The joint committees she was referring to were those on public order, peace, unification and reconciliation, and finance that conducted an investigation on the Mamasapano incident.

Poe said it was understandable that the senators and the MILF would have divergent views on certain issues and events, particularly on the nature and gravity of the killing of the members of the PNP-SAF’s 55th and 84th companies.

“This may be because we had access to different sets of witnesses or we have a different appreciation of facts,” she said.

“What is important is that all of us continue on our pursuit of the truth and not to waver on our quest for genuine peace in Mindanao.”

Given the differing findings of fact, the senator said, “It is more imperative for the DOJ (Department of Justice) to expedite and finish its investigation, identify the culpable individuals and prosecute them accordingly.”

Meanwhile, Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero, chair of the finance committee, was no longer surprised that the MILF report “favored” its own men.

“As expected, the report favored the MILF fighters involved in the Mamasapano massacre,” he said in a text message Tuesday night.

While he said he has yet to read the entire MILF report, Escudero pointed out that the law enforcement operations against high value targets was “exempt from coordination requirements.”

“And if indeed it is a violation of the ceasefire, why complain only against the SAF… especially given that the President himself approved the operation,” he further said.

In its report, the MILF said it should file a protest against the SAF for breaking the ceasefire when it failed to coordinate its operation in Mamasapano through the established protocols of the ceasefire mechanisms.

Source:http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/681179/charge-milf-men-in-saf-killing-senator-poe-insists


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