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MILF: Suspension of Bangsamoro law hearings ‘bad sign’ but we won’t resort to violence

/ 11:07 AM February 10, 2015
mohagher-iqbal

MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal. AP FILE PHOTO

COTABATO CITY, Philippines – The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) said on Tuesday that the indefinite suspension of hearings on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in Congress was not a good sign for the peace process but added it respected the House of Representatives’ decision.

“Well that’s the decision of the Lower House,” Mohagher Iqbal, the MILF chief negotiator, said by phone.

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But he said the proposed BBL appeared to have become the latest casualty following the bloody incident in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, where 44 police commandos, 18 rebels, and five civilians were killed.

Regarding the Senate hearings on the Mamasapano encounter where members of the police Special Action Force (SAF) were killed by MILF guerrillas, Iqbal said he would attend the inquiry only after the completion of the MILF investigation.

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Iqbal admitted that the MILF was saddened by the decision of the House adhoc committee tackling the proposed BBL.

“Everybody who wants and supports peace is not feeling good about what is going on,” he said.

But Iqbal said despite the setback, the MILF would continue to pursue peace and “will not resort to any act that will add more trouble in Mindanao.”

“We are still in control of our men on the ground,” he said.

North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza said the suspension of the hearings did not mean the termination of the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

But she said “all Filipinos at these trying times want to know the truth about Mamasapano incident, especially on the fallen 44 and other casualties.”

“We are all mourning and sad about it. We deserve peace with justice,” Mendoza said.

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But Iqbal said the investigation of the Mamasapano clash could go on even with the hearings.

He said the suspension would just “add another problem” to the already long line of problems besetting Mindanao.

Iqbal lamented that the justice system has been one sided and bias.

“The justice system of our country is one sided and bias. What about our brothers and sisters that were killed since 1974? Thousands of them have died but there has been no justice until now,” he said.

He maintained that passing the BBL “is the only option open to all of us now” and that “any hesitancy breeds more complications.”

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