Press Release
January 30, 2015

Pimentel wants BBL reworded to save peace

Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III today said the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) should be reworded to "make it fall within the ambit of the Constitution" even in the midst of the public outrage to dump the law in the aftermath of the unwarranted ambush of the Special Action Force (SAF) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Maguindanao last Sunday.

Pimentel said the BBL should be inclusive so that other rebel groups would not have other reasons to pursue their own bloody agenda instead of pursuing a peaceful ending to the long-running conflict in the region.

He expressed deep sympathies for the families of those whose relatives were killed in the worst bloodbath to mar efforts to pursue peace. "Lubos akong nakikiramay at nakikisimpatiya sa mga pamilya ng mga nasawi at nasaktan na magigiting na kawal."

Pimentel denounced the firefight that left 44 members of the SAF cops dead, offered a prayer for the eternal repose of the souls of the gallant policemen, who are now honoured as heroes by the people.

"The bloody incident must be denounced in terms that are most condemnatory," he said, adding, "those responsible must be sanctioned pursuant to law immediately."

The elite troopers, who were pursuing high-profile terrorists, were mowed down by the combined forces of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the breakaway Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in an encounter that began at dawn and ended at dusk.

Pimentel said the incident, however, should not be used as an excuse to dump the peace talks between the government and the secessionist Muslim forces.

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