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No evidence MILF coddled Marwan—truce monitors

THE International Monitoring Team (IMT) acknowledged that some members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front may have coddled Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, but there is no proof to show that the group as a whole backed terrorists, said government peace negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer.

Ferrer said the Malaysia-led and dominated IMT made the acknowledgment in its “Mamasapano Verification Report” that was presented in a press briefing in Pasig City on Monday.

Marwan
“Maybe some [MILF] members may have known the whereabouts of Marwan and Usman but not the MILF as an organization,” Ferrer said, quoting from the report which she received on Sunday.

“The encounter site is accepted to be an MILF controlled area particularly in Tukanalipao which under the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces,” Ferrer said, quoting from the report which she received on Sunday.

According to the report, the IMT saw five possible violations committed by both forces: the MILF providing sanctuary to criminals; the PNP-SAF failed to coordinate its law enforcement operation that led to the firefight; the aggressive actions of both sides for committing actions such as ambush, terrorist acts like summary executions and other possible ceasefire violations, and unjustified massing of troops or massive deployment.

The IMT also complained that its probers were not granted access to the site where the firefight occurred due to security issues, particularly in Barangay Tukanalipao.”

The IMT also was also not able interview any of the SAF men involved in “Oplan Exodus” that was planned and implemented by the sacked SAF director, Getulio Napenas, and then suspended and now resigned Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Alan Purisima and duly approved by Aquino.

“They relied mostly on the proceedings and documents from the eharng made by Congress, the PNP’s Board of Inquiry and the MILF report,” Ferrer said.

At the same time, Ferrer dismissed speculations that the briefing was called to set the tone for the investigative hearing that the House of Representatives will resume today [Tuesday].

Pushing hard. Chief government peace negotiators Miriam
Coronel-Ferrer answers questions from journalists regarding the
report released by the International Monitoring Team on the
Mamasapano incident. Ferrer was accompanied by (from left)
ceasefire panel members Carlos Sol and Senen Bacani and
Brig. Gen.Manolito Orense during press briefing in Pasig City.
MANNY  PALMERO
The Independent Bloc in the House of Representatives, led by Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, said it has several questions to ask of President Benigno Aquino III through his representatives when the joint congressional panel resumes.

Palace officials, heads of the peace panel and top National police officials will be the resource persons in the House committees on public order and peace, reconciliation and unity hearing on the Mamasapano massacre which involved the killing of 44 police commandos.

At least 30 lawmakers are lined-up to ask questions to resource persons. Each of them will be given five minutes to convey their thoughts on the debacle and seek response from the government official being asked to shed light on the issue.

Among those invited for the hearings were Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, government peace negotiating panel chairperson Miriam Coronel Ferrer, peace process adviser Secretary Teresita Deles, and Moro Islamic Liberation Front peace panel chairperson Mohagher Igbal. 

The joint panel resumed its probe on the Mamasapano incident after more than 100 lawmakers signed a resolution asking the House leadership to proceed with the congressional investigation.

The joint panel conducted its initial hearing on the matter last February 11. It suspended its hearings after the House leadership said it will wait for the results of the Philippine National Police-Board of Inquiry (PNP-BOI) probe.

 

 

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