Senator Chiz Escudero said that the quest for peace in Mindanao must not be abandoned following the deadly clashes in Mamasapano town that left 44 members of the elite police force dead and 11 others injured, but wanted those responsible for last Sunday’s carnage brought to the bar of justice.
“The government cannot simply brush aside the fact that a lot of our policemen died performing their duty. Someone must be held to account, even MILF members if they will be found to be at fault. The lives our policemen gave must not be for naught,” Escudero said.
“Di ito dapat matulad sa nangyari sa Marines natin noon na hanggang ngayon ay tila wala pang nananagot,” Escudero said, referring to the beheading of 14 government troops in 2007 clash with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Al-Barka, Basilan. “Whatever happened to these cases? They have remained unresolved and we don’t want to just forget about these brutalities. There must be justice.”
The senator admitted that the proposed Bangsamoro Basic law (BBL) will be affected following the bloody firefight, as he cautioned fellow lawmakers to withhold their decision so as not to imperil the peace process.
“I urge our colleagues not to rush into any decision just yet until we know what happened,” he said. “Mas maraming buhay ang nakataya at malalagay sa alanganin kapag nabasag ang kapayapaan na umiiral ngayon sa pagitan ng gobyerno at MILF. Ngunit hindi ito dapat gamiting dahilan ng alinmang panig para lumabag sa pinapairal na batas.”
He also said that a congressional inquiry into the Mamasapano clash is most welcome to ensure that there will be no whitewash in the investigation.
“I understand that some matters may be sensitive if and when we tackle this issue in the Senate, but we can always hold an executive session,” Escudero said.
“We don’t know yet who was wrong. But they should identify who they are and cooperate fully with the investigation given that the government and the MILF should be partners in building and strengthening the peace and not as protagonists,” he added.
A resolution has been filed in the Senate seeking an investigation into the clashes between the Special Action Force of the Philippine National Police and the MILF in tandem with the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters that killed 44 police elite force and 11 others last Sunday.