‘MILF usually surrenders a member who committed a crime’
MANILA, Philippines—Based on past experiences, MILF surrenders a member of its group if a crime has been committed, Colonel Dickson Hermoso, AFP Peace Process Office head, pointed out on Thursday.
“In fairness to MILF, if they have members who violated a rule, they usually surrender them through AHJAG [Ad Hoc Joint Action Group],” Hermoso said in Filipino after the AFP stated there are appropriate ceasefire mechanisms that shall be used in dealing with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) regarding the clash between the Special Forces of the AFP and alleged members of the MILF and Abu Sayyaf in Basilan on Tuesday.
Hermoso emphasized that after the MILF claimed 2010 fugitive Dan Laksaw Asnawi as the deputy commander of its 114th Base Command, it will now be up to them to decide if they will turnover Asnawi for him to continue serving his sentence for being involved in the killing of 14 marines in July 2007.
If the MILF decides to keep Asnawi inside its Area of Temporary Stay (ATS), the AHJAG mechanism will be used in order to isolate lawless elements from seeking refuge in/near the MILF community.
He said that if this mechanism shall be used, the AFP shall coordinate with the MILF’s occupying the ATS before entering its compound. Likewise with the MILF, they shall also coordinate with the military and leave their weapons before they go beyond their ATS.
Hermoso said that regardless of who the perpetrator is, “Kung nagkasala ka at nasa loob ka ng MILF community, hindi pwedeng basta basta na lang pumasok kasi may mga madadamay na hindi dapat madamay dahil naka blend nga sila sa loob. ”
However, while the joint ceasefire mechanism of the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) and the the AHJAG is effective in parts of the central Mindanao, Hermoso admitted that AHJAG is currently not a working mechanism in Basilan as observed in the clash incident on Tuesday.
Colonel Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos, AFP spokesman, said the military will pursue cases of multiple and frustrated murders against the MILF following the death of the six other soldiers whose lifeless bodies were recovered in Bato-Bato, Al-Barka, Basilan.
Through Burgos, the AFP is also lodging a strong protest through the CCCH “for the gross and deliberate violation of the ceasefire agreement for the MILF’s participation in the encounter, for harboring criminals, including a fugitive.”
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