Press Release
January 28, 2015

MILF told to surrender men involved in carnage,
stop issuing visas to terrorists

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) should turn over to government authorities all its personnel involved in the killing of 44 police commandos who were serving an arrest warrant on a Malaysian bomb-maker and his Filipino cohort in Maguindanao last Sunday.

Sen. Ralph Recto said the MILF will be aggravating a crime committed if it will allow the perpetrators to remain scot-free.

"It will be wrong for the MILF to use the ceasefire agreement it had signed with the government as a shield against arrest," Recto said.

"That document does not inoculate anyone who had committed a grievous wrong from prosecution. You cannot claim immunity in the name of the peace process," Recto said.

Recto said members of the government peace panel should convey the same demand to their counterparts in the rebel side.

He reminded them "that the bodies of the 44 SAF men should not be swept under the carpet being rolled out for the eventual Bangsamoro entity."

Recto said "achieving peace in Mindanao and attaining justice for those killed can be pursued simultaneously if the MILF has the guts to punish the guilty and give justice to the dead."

"By all means let us proceed with the peace process but first you must stop coddling your men so we can also proceed with the important job of giving justice to those who have been killed," Recto said.

"This is a reasonable demand not meant to inflame passions but precisely to calm the fired up emotions of the people," Recto said.

"The only way forward is for the MILF to surrender their men who were responsible for the killing of the policemen," Recto said.

To prevent Sunday' bloody carnage from happening again, Recto urged "the MILF to stop issuing visas to asylum seekers and wanted terrorists."

The MILF should declare its enclaves as "no-go zones for terrorists."

He reiterated his challenge to the MILF to deny the likes of Marwan and Usman sanctuary.

He was referring to Malaysian bomb-maker and top Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, known as Marwan, and his local cohort, Basit Usman, who were the targets of the waylaid Special Action Forces team.

"Any group in talks for permanent peace with the government should not be giving sanctuary to terrorists," Recto said.

"It should not allow zones it control to be used as rest and recreation areas for wanted fugitives who by their skills and bloody curriculum vitaes present a clear and present danger to the nation," Recto said.

Recto said even if reports are true that the two terrorists were actually in areas controlled by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), "then the MILF should not side with the BIFF but assist the police and the military in apprehending them."

"If the MILF wants to be our BFF, then they should stop playing footsies with the BIFF," Recto said.

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