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De Lima: We can’t demand yet MILF men’s surrender

  • Written by Marlon Purificacion
  • Published in Top Stories
  • Read: 3544
Leila de Lima Leila de Lima

JUSTICE Secretary Leila de Lima said at yesterday’s hearing on the Mamasapano incident the government has no coercive power at this point to demand the MILF surrender their men involved in the killing of 44 Special Action Forces (SAF) commandos.
    
“We have to find out first exactly what happened, who are involved, identify them precisely, and when the proper time comes there would be appropriate legal processes like the issuance of subpoena at the preliminary investigation level,” De Lima said at the fourth Senate public hearing.

Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto had asked De Lima if the government has a standing demand for the MILF to surrender their fighters.
   
For her part, presidential adviser on the peace process Secretary Teresita Deles said they are waiting for the go-signal from the DoJ before demanding the surrender of MILF members.
   
“What we have put forward is full accountability. With regards to the surrendering of person, we have to wait for the DoJ,” she said.
   
De Lima and Deles’ pronouncements alarmed Sen. Grace Poe, who heads the committee on public order, which was conducting the hearing.
   
“Nakakabahala ‘yun. Wala pa pala tayong outstanding order para sa mga surrender o pag-apprehend,” she said.
   
De Lima insisted the government will demand the MILF fighters’ surrender only after the investigation have been concluded.
   
“From a strictly legal standpoint, there is a proper time to demand the surrender of those involved. What we have right now are several investigations,” De Lima stressed.

‘US not involved’

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) yesterday said that the United States was not involved in the planning and execution of the Mamasapano operation which killed 44 Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) members, 18 Moro rebels and five civilians.
    
“In our own discussions with the US, we have ascertained from our own discussions that the plan and the execution of the operation were 100-percent Filipino,” DFA Undersecretary for Policy Evan Garcia told the fourth Senate inquiry into the deadly operation.
    
Garcia, representing Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, also stressed that US participation in combat operations in the Philippines is prohibited under the 1987 Constitution.
    
The DFA official likewise said the Philippines “has been working with the US on military intelligence, training, casualty evacuation and care, and humanitarian and development assistance.”
    
However, Garcia did not say whether the US indeed provided intelligence for the Mamasapano operation.
    
The alleged American participation in the operation in Mamasapano, we respectfully defer to our colleagues on operational details,” Garcia said.
 
Reports said that the US provided logistics, intelligence and funding for the so-called “Oplan Exodus.”