What to do with MILF’s Mamasapano probe report? Group will give it to Malaysia
MANILA, Philippines–The peace panels have yet to decide what to do with the investigation report of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on the Mamasapano incident as there is no clear procedure on dealing with the “extraordinary situation,” the chief government negotiator said on Sunday.
“This has been the only ceasefire breakdown since 2011. And then there are the circumstances of how it happened. They made an investigation. It’s internal. To whom should they give it? There is no defined process,” UP Political Science professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, government peace panel chair, said in a seminar of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines in Batangas.
Mohagher Iqbal, Ferrer’s MILF counterpart, last week said the results of the MILF probe would be submitted to the Malaysian panel, the third-party facilitator in the peace talks between the MILF and the government, in compliance with the protocol on documents.
Lawmakers, like Senators Chiz Escudero and Alan Peter Cayetano, criticized Ferrer and Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles for allowing the Malaysian facilitators to get first crack on the MILF report.
“We haven’t received official communication; that’s what the MILF will do. I just read it in the newspapers,” Ferrer said. “We will have to sort out what the process really is because what happened in Mamasapano is extraordinary.”
“We don’t know the process even for everybody, the CHR (Commission on Human Rights), the DOJ (Department of Justice). The BOI (Board of Inquiry) also has a study. Where will it go and does the buck stop there?” Ferrer said.
The Philippine National Police formed the BOI to look into the Jan. 25 operation to arrest Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, and his Filipino deputy Basit Usman in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
Proposed BBL derailed
The operation, which was not coordinated with the military and the MILF, resulted in the death of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) members, 18 MILF guerrillas and five civilians and has derailed the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). The MILF described the firefight as a “misencounter.”
The SAF also ran into the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), a group that broke away from the MILF, and members of private armies.
Ferrer said the government panel would wait for the MILF’s official communication regarding its report, warning investigating bodies and media practitioners against releasing piecemeal information.
“We need prudence in how all these tidbits of information are coming out, especially because there are security considerations. It may unnecessarily endanger certain individuals. At the same time, the biases, the misinformation are being reinforced,” Ferrer said.
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