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MILF-gov’t truce violations?

/ 03:34 AM February 28, 2015

My sources in Maguindanao and North Cotabato claim many members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are taking part in fighting the government.

Some parts of the two provinces in Central Mindanao have become battlefields of government forces fighting members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

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Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Gen. Pio Catapang has told the MILF to stay away from the fight between AFP troops and the BIFF.

The government and the MILF have agreed to a truce while both sides talk about forming a Moro homeland.

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But it seems some MILF members can’t stay away from the fight since many of them have relatives who are BIFF fighters, according to my sources. Does this mean the MILF cannot control its members?

Most of the armed civilians in Maguindanao and North Cotabato who are Muslim also sympathize with the BIFF.

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Authorities swooped down Thursday night on three bars in Manila where minors were served liquor in violation of a city ordinance, and took custody of 31 students.

The bars—Beach, Barn and Plato—are near De la Salle University, College of St. Benilde and St. Scholastica’s College in the city’s Malate district. School authorities have complained the bars serve liquor to their students and were reportedly sources of illegal drugs.

Manila Mayor Erap Estrada ordered the raid on the three bars based on the complaints of officials of the three schools.

The students who were taken in were caught drinking alcoholic beverages, but were released to their parents.

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Although only Barn was caught serving liquor to students, the other two bars will still be closed down for violating a city ordinance which prohibits putting up bars within a 200-meter radius from a school, according to City Hall.

Let’s hope these bars are closed down permanently for the sake of the students.

* * *

One of the bars, Beach, is allegedly owned by a Manila assistant city prosecutor who handled drug cases.

He has been ordered by his superiors to hand over evidence consisting of drugs seized during raids or from individual apprehensions, but he has consistently refused to do so.

The drugs were turned over by the police to the assistant city prosecutor for presentation to the courts.

His continued refusal to hand over the drugs to his superiors is highly suspicious.

Could it be that the confiscated drugs were sold to students who frequent his bar?

* * *

Many years ago, when I was covering the Metropolitan Command (Metrocom) of the defunct Philippine Constabulary (PC) for the Manila Bulletin, I learned that a sergeant ran away with millions of pesos worth of evidence.

The PC sergeant was the command’s evidence custodian. He was caught after several months in hiding.

I saw the guy when he was apprehended since I was with the team that made the arrest.

I learned later that he was shot after reportedly grabbing the gun of an investigator at Metrocom headquarters.

Of course, I knew it was an execution, but this was during the martial law years and reporters could only write stories favorable to the government.

What am I saying here? That tampering or running away with evidence entrusted to a government official or employee is a very serious offense.

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TAGS: Alcohol, Assistant Prosecutor, bars, biff, Government, Illegal drugs, Manila, MILF, Military, peace process, Schools, Students, truce
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