BANGSAMORO DRAFT LAW READY FOR AQUINO

The transition body tasked with drawing up the proposed basic law for a new so-called Bangsamoro autonomous region following the signing of a peace agreement with the secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is set to submit a draft of the document to President Benigno Aquino III on Monday, according to senior MILF leaders. “Yes, we will submit it by Monday to President Aquino,” said Mohagher Iqbal, chair of the 15-man Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) and chief negotiator for the MILF rebels in the peace talks with the government that culminated in the signing of a comprehensive peace agreement on March 27. “It was a very difficult process. It went through a lot of stages,” Iqbal said of the drafting of the document. Ghadzali Jaafar, MILF chief for political affairs, confirmed the transition commission will be submitting the draft basic law to Malacañang on Monday. “The BTC actually set March 31 as the deadline but it had to put the finishing touches to it,” Jaafar said in a phone interview. He said the commission was continuing to refine the draft but was expected to finish everything before Monday. The commission met its self-imposed April deadline to complete its work. After its submission to Mr. Aquino, the document will go to Congress for approval as the Charter of the proposed Bangsamoro autonomous region. The President has promised to submit the draft basic law as an urgent bill when he transmits it to Congress. The MILF has stressed the need to complete the entire peace process, including the exit agreement, within the term of Mr. Aquino who will step down from office in June 2016.

ALSO: Battery of govt lawyers to review Bangsamoro draft bill

A battery of seasoned government lawyers will review the draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law to make the measure withstand legal challenges once it is submitted for congressional approval and in case it is questioned before the Supreme Court (SC).
The Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) headed by Mohaqer Iqbal was expected to submit the draft measure to the Office of the President (OP) by 5 p.m. on Monday, according to deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte. Valte said BTC officials have an appointment with OP Undersecretary Mike Musngi, who will officially receive the draft.
Once in the hand of Malacanang lawyers, Valte said the measure will be subjected to a thorough review to look for any infirmities. “So after [an] internal process checks in the BTC, it would undergo a review on the Office of the President, mainly by the Office of Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs [DESLA] Michael Aguinaldo,” the Palace official explained. Part of the team, Valte further explained, would be Chief Presidential Legal Counsel, Secretary Benjamin Caguioa, “as well as other legal minds in the executive branch of government.” “So undergoing these internal processes and reviews would ensure that more or less it would have solid legal footing, if and when it is challenged in the Supreme Court,” the Palace official emphasized. READ MORE...


ALSO: Gov’t open to discuss constitutionality of Bangsamoro pact with Santiago

Malacañang on Saturday said it hopes Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago could meet government peace negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer to discuss the legality of the recently signed Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) after Santiago tagged the peace deal as unconstitutional. Santiago said the agreement violated the principle of “constitutional supremacy.” Malacañang, however, said, it is open to a discussion with the senator. “Mabuti po ‘yon kasi maganda din na nagkaroon sila ng ganitong exchange because the government is always open to explain ‘yung contents of the agreement,” Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said on radio. (It will be good for them to have exchange of ideas because the government is always open to explain the contents of the agreement.) Valte mentioned that even before the agreement was signed, the governement peace panel has consulted civil society groups, members of the academe and to legislators to let them look into the content of the peace agreement. She said Malacañang hopes that the Supreme Court would uphold the legality of the peace agreement despite questions regarding its legality. On March 28, the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has signed a historic peace agreement to end decades-long secessionist movement in Mindanao. THIS IS THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO: MILF claims Military violated truce

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) said the military violated the ceasefire agreement between the government and the rebel group when soldiers attacked MILF forces last week in Basilan that led to the death of three fighters. The MILF said one civilian, Julamri Bapakil, was also killed and four others were wounded – Adzmar Abdurahim, 14; Hudri Julamri, 16; and Basri Pamasad, 17; and Jihad Abdurajim, 17 – during the military assault in the towns of Ungkaya Pukan and Tipo-Tipo. The MILF identified its slain members as Basir Kerok, Soy Tarung and Mohammad Soh. Two other fighters, Totong Ausal and Muthim Imam, were wounded in the fighting. The military’s Western Mindanao Command said it launched the operation on April 11 against the Abu Sayyaf which is being blamed for the spate of terrorism and ransom kidnappings in Basilan and other parts of western Mindanao. The clashes also killed two soldiers and wounded 29 more. Marine Captain Maria Rowena Muyuela, spokeswoman for the Western Mindanao Command, said the military assault targeted Abu Sayyaf leaders Puruji Indama and Nurhassan Jamiri, who have been harassing workers at a government road project there.
She said the military operation was coordinated with the MILF in Basilan, one of five provinces comprising the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, which is known as a stronghold of the rebel group. “The launching of the combat operation has been coordinated with the AHJAG, CCCH and the PNP in pursuit of the lawless elements, primarily the Abu Sayyaf, which is believed to be responsible in several extortion and kidnapping cases here in the Mindanao area,” Myuela said.

ALSO: MILF involved in clash – AFP chief

Some Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels were involved in last Friday’s clashes between government forces and the Abu Sayyaf in Basilan that left 20 people dead and several others wounded, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Emmanuel Bautista confirmed yesterday. Bautista, however, stressed that the involvement of MILF members was meant to help their relatives in the Abu Sayyaf targeted by military operations. “Individual MILF members acted on their own and not the MILF as a group per se because they have relatives in the Abu Sayyaf,” Bautista said. “They probably joined in their individual capacity and not as MILF,” he said. While there was information that some MILF members had joined the Abu Sayyaf gunmen during the encounter, Bautista defended the MILF as an organization that does not support the militants. He said before the operation was launched against the Abu Sayyaf, the MILF commanders were advised through the ceasefire mechanism to coordinate with and support the military operation.

ALSO: MILF fighters aided Abu Sayyaf – military

Malacañang is yet to begin reviewing the draft of the law that seeks to establish peace through a Bangsamoro region in Mindanao, but some kinks have emerged as members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have reportedly aided Abu Sayyaf rebels in engaging soldiers in fierce clashes last week in Basilan. Armed Forces chief Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista confirmed that MILF members and Abu Sayyaf rebels fought side by side against the military. Two soldiers and 10 rebels were killed in the encounters in the towns of Tipo-Tipo and Ungkaya Pukan. Reports said 29 soldiers were also injured.
The MILF on Tuesday admitted that four of those slain were its members. The group denounced the killing, which happened just two weeks after the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro was signed to end the decades-old conflict in Mindanao.
Bautista clarified that the decision of the MILF fighters to join the Abu Sayyaf was not made by the MILF leadership.
“It was not the MILF per se but only individual members because they are relatives [of some Abu Sayyaf members]. We are in touch with the MILF,” he told reporters. Still, Bautista said the MILF members who fought alongside the Abu Sayyaf rebels are also criminally liable and “the MILF should deal with them.” He added that military operations against the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) will continue. The ASG is behind kidnap-for ransom and extortion activities in the South. It was classified as a terrorist group by the United States Department of State.


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Bangsamoro draft law ready for Aquino


MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal. AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, APRIL 21, 2014 (INQUIRER) By Nikko Dizon, Ryan D. Rosauro and Allan Nawal - The transition body tasked with drawing up the proposed basic law for a new so-called Bangsamoro autonomous region following the signing of a peace agreement with the secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is set to submit a draft of the document to President Benigno Aquino III on Monday, according to senior MILF leaders.

“Yes, we will submit it by Monday to President Aquino,” said Mohagher Iqbal, chair of the 15-man Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) and chief negotiator for the MILF rebels in the peace talks with the government that culminated in the signing of a comprehensive peace agreement on March 27.

“It was a very difficult process. It went through a lot of stages,” Iqbal said of the drafting of the document.

Ghadzali Jaafar, MILF chief for political affairs, confirmed the transition commission will be submitting the draft basic law to Malacañang on Monday.

“The BTC actually set March 31 as the deadline but it had to put the finishing touches to it,” Jaafar said in a phone interview.

He said the commission was continuing to refine the draft but was expected to finish everything before Monday.

The commission met its self-imposed April deadline to complete its work. After its submission to Mr. Aquino, the document will go to Congress for approval as the Charter of the proposed Bangsamoro autonomous region.

The President has promised to submit the draft basic law as an urgent bill when he transmits it to Congress.

The MILF has stressed the need to complete the entire peace process, including the exit agreement, within the term of Mr. Aquino who will step down from office in June 2016.

Iqbal said that after submitting the draft law, he would be engaging the Office of the President, the Congress “indirectly,” and the public.

With Mr. Aquino as the main sponsor of the draft law, Iqbal said he could well imagine that the President would pore over it and may even make suggestions on how to improve it.

Congress battleground

It has been suggested that after the tough peace negotiations, the next battleground for the peace process will be Congress. District representatives, especially from the provinces that will be affected by the creation of a new Muslim-led autonomous region will closely scrutinize the proposed law.

After Congress passes the basic law for the proposed Bangsamoro entity, it will be submitted for ratification in a plebiscite in those areas proposed to be included in the Bangsamoro territory. Localities that ratify the charter will comprise the administrative jurisdiction of the new autonomous entity.

Once the basic law is ratified in a plebiscite, Republic Act No. 9054, or the Organic Law that created the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), will be deemed repealed and the ARMM abolished.

The ARMM, described as a “failed experiment” by Mr. Aquino, was the result of the peace agreement between the government and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), the main Muslim insurgency of which the MILF is a breakaway faction.

A transitional body composed of officials appointed by the President will govern the region until a full set of elected Bangsamoro Assembly members are elected and assume office on June 30, 2016.

Mary Ann Arnado of the Mindanao Peoples Caucus said the official ceremonies for the handover of the draft basic law to Mr. Aquino on Monday will be marked by a rally at Mendiola at 2 p.m. “to mark this significant milestone in the Mindanao peace process.”

FROM THE MANILA TIMES

Battery of govt lawyers to review Bangsamoro draft bill
April 14, 2014 7:06 pm BY JOEL M. SY EGCO SENIOR REPORTER

A battery of seasoned government lawyers will review the draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law to make the measure withstand legal challenges once it is submitted for congressional approval and in case it is questioned before the Supreme Court (SC).

The Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) headed by Mohaqer Iqbal was expected to submit the draft measure to the Office of the President (OP) by 5 p.m. on Monday, according to deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte.

Valte said BTC officials have an appointment with OP Undersecretary Mike Musngi, who will officially receive the draft.

Once in the hand of Malacanang lawyers, Valte said the measure will be subjected to a thorough review to look for any infirmities.

“So after [an] internal process checks in the BTC, it would undergo a review on the Office of the President, mainly by the Office of Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs [DESLA] Michael Aguinaldo,” the Palace official explained.

Part of the team, Valte further explained, would be Chief Presidential Legal Counsel, Secretary Benjamin Caguioa, “as well as other legal minds in the executive branch of government.”

“So undergoing these internal processes and reviews would ensure that more or less it would have solid legal footing, if and when it is challenged in the Supreme Court,” the Palace official emphasized.

“I understand also that the Office of the Solicitor General will be lending their help on this matter,” Valte added.

The official expressed confidence that with the preparations being done to see the smooth sailing of the measure, it will stand scrutiny.

She said that some groups have already made known their intention to challenge the measure once passed but assured that both government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front panels were aware of the risks.

“Both panels in their negotiations have already had that in mind. Knowing that anything that will come out of their negotiations will be challenged. They have made sure that they have the proper legal guidance while it was being crafted and that it will stand scrutiny,” Valte stressed further.

She said she would not speculate on the nature of the expected legal challenges because all issues will be addressed only as they come.

“That would depend on the challenge. Remember that when we’re asked to respond to constitutional challenge, the response is based on the allegations set out in the petition… I can’t project at this time what the challenges would be or what specific provisions of law would be called into play,” Valte explained.

The BTC was supposed to submit the draft bill last month following the singing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro last March 27. However, the body asked for more time to fine-tune the measure.

Gov’t open to discuss constitutionality of Bangsamoro pact with Santiago By Nestor Corrales INQUIRER.net 5:35 pm | Saturday, April 5th, 2014


Peace negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer and Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines— Malacañang on Saturday said it hopes Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago could meet government peace negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer to discuss the legality of the recently signed Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) after Santiago tagged the peace deal as unconstitutional.

Santiago said the agreement violated the principle of “constitutional supremacy.”

Malacañang, however, said, it is open to a discussion with the senator.

“Mabuti po ‘yon kasi maganda din na nagkaroon sila ng ganitong exchange because the government is always open to explain ‘yung contents of the agreement,” Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said on radio.

(It will be good for them to have exchange of ideas because the government is always open to explain the contents of the agreement.)

Valte mentioned that even before the agreement was signed, the governement peace panel has consulted civil society groups, members of the academe and to legislators to let them look into the content of the peace agreement.

She said Malacañang hopes that the Supreme Court would uphold the legality of the peace agreement despite questions regarding its legality.

On March 28, the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has signed a historic peace agreement to end decades-long secessionist movement in Mindanao.

FROM THE MANILA TIMES

MILF claims Military violated truce April 19, 2014 11:01 pm by Al Jacinto Senior Correspondent


Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters raise their fists at Camp Darapanan, in the southern Philippines in March. Photo: Reuters

ZAMBOANGA CITY: The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) said the military violated the ceasefire agreement between the government and the rebel group when soldiers attacked MILF forces last week in Basilan that led to the death of three fighters.

The MILF said one civilian, Julamri Bapakil, was also killed and four others were wounded – Adzmar Abdurahim, 14; Hudri Julamri, 16; and Basri Pamasad, 17; and Jihad Abdurajim, 17 – during the military assault in the towns of Ungkaya Pukan and Tipo-Tipo.

The MILF identified its slain members as Basir Kerok, Soy Tarung and Mohammad Soh.

Two other fighters, Totong Ausal and Muthim Imam, were wounded in the fighting. The military’s Western Mindanao Command said it launched the operation on April 11 against the Abu Sayyaf which is being blamed for the spate of terrorism and ransom kidnappings in Basilan and other parts of western Mindanao. The clashes also killed two soldiers and wounded 29 more.

Marine Captain Maria Rowena Muyuela, spokeswoman for the Western Mindanao Command, said the military assault targeted Abu Sayyaf leaders Puruji Indama and Nurhassan Jamiri, who have been harassing workers at a government road project there.

She said the military operation was coordinated with the MILF in Basilan, one of five provinces comprising the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, which is known as a stronghold of the rebel group.

“The launching of the combat operation has been coordinated with the AHJAG, CCCH and the PNP in pursuit of the lawless elements, primarily the Abu Sayyaf, which is believed to be responsible in several extortion and kidnapping cases here in the Mindanao area,” Myuela said.

AHJAG refers to the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group and the CCCH is the abbreviation for the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities which ensures the mechanism of the ceasefire agreement is not violated.

But the MILF, the country’s largest Muslim rebel group which recently signed a peace deal with Manila, denied the military report, saying the assault was launched without any coordination and this sparked fierce gun battle between its forces and government troops after security forces encroached into its territories.

“The movement of the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) soldiers was not in any way coordinated with CCCH neither the military informed the AHJAG. The encounter could have been avoided had the military coordinated with the GPH-MILF CCCH and the International Monitoring Team,” the MILF said.

It said the military assault in the village of Kurellem lasted only two hours, but the exchange of gunfire between the MILF forces and government troops took several hours.

“Heavy damage was also reported on a school building, madrasah, mosque and agricultural crops due to relentless artillery shelling and helicopter machinegun fire,” the MILF said.

AFP chief Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista, who was in Zamboanga City recently, said they have reports that MILF rebels fought alongside Abu Sayyaf militants in Basilan.

Bautista said some MILF members who have relatives with the Abu Sayyaf were involved in the fighting.

Military spokesman Maj. Gen. Domingo Tutaan said they are verifying reports that as many as 32 rebels were killed or wounded.

Despite the massive military assault, the militants managed to slip out of Basilan. Some 200 soldiers under the command of Brig. Gen. Carlito Galvez took part in the offensive.

FROM PHILSTAR

MILF involved in clash – AFP chief By Jaime Laude and Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 16, 2014 - 12:00am 9 258 googleplus1 0

MANILA, Philippines - Some Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels were involved in last Friday’s clashes between government forces and the Abu Sayyaf in Basilan that left 20 people dead and several others wounded, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Emmanuel Bautista confirmed yesterday.

Bautista, however, stressed that the involvement of MILF members was meant to help their relatives in the Abu Sayyaf targeted by military operations.

“Individual MILF members acted on their own and not the MILF as a group per se because they have relatives in the Abu Sayyaf,” Bautista said.

“They probably joined in their individual capacity and not as MILF,” he said.

While there was information that some MILF members had joined the Abu Sayyaf gunmen during the encounter, Bautista defended the MILF as an organization that does not support the militants.

He said before the operation was launched against the Abu Sayyaf, the MILF commanders were advised through the ceasefire mechanism to coordinate with and support the military operation.

Bautista said they are leaving it to the MILF to deal with its members who were involved in the clashes with troops in Basilan.

‘A mistake again’

On the other hand, MILF vice chairman for political affairs Ghadzali Jaafar said they would investigate the involvement of their men in the firefight.

Jaafar said he had received reports stating their men became involved in the clashes between the Abu Sayyaf and government troops.

“We were surprised that they were hit when they were far from the target of the raid,” Jaafar told Solar News yesterday.

“We think we should know the reason why it happened because probably someone committed a mistake again,” he added.

Jaafar stressed the incident should not have occurred, especially after the government and the MILF had just signed the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.

“We do not want this agreement to be disturbed by such unwanted incident initiated by the military men of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Basilan,” he said.

Citing field reports, Jaafar said about four MILF members were killed in the military offensive.

He said the matter has been brought to the International Monitoring Team (IMT) and the ceasefire committees.

“Let’s wait for the result of the probe. It’s now in the hands of IMT. Let’s give them a chance,” Jaafar said in Filipino.

Reports earlier revealed the MILF commanders and their men joined the fighting early morning Friday, reinforcing the group of Abu Sayyaf commanders Nurhasan Jamiri, Bashir Kasaran, Ibrahim Malat and Furuji Indama at their hideout in Sitio Kurilem, Barangay Silangkum, Tipo-Tipo town.

The firefight started when a team of Army Scout Rangers launched the offensive early Friday.

The clashes occurred just several meters away from an MILF camp in the area.

Security forces in Basilan stepped up offensives against the Abu Sayyaf in Basilan last week after receiving information about the extortion activities of the bandits.

The military launched the offensive on intelligence reports that the Abu Sayyaf is holding Sabrina Ikbala Voon, niece of retired police director Sukarno Ikbala, who was kidnapped in Zamboanga City last February.

The military said last Friday’s clashes left 18 Abu Sayyaf terrorists and two soldiers dead.

A total of 14 bandits and 31 soldiers, including three Army officers, were wounded in the clashes.

No Lenten break

Bautista said there will be no letup in the operation against the Abu Sayyaf and other armed groups during the Lenten season in Basilan and Sulu province.

Bautista made the announcement as he arrived in Zamboanga City to visit the soldiers wounded in last Friday’s clashes in Basilan.

He said the troops would continue the operations against Abu Sayyaf bandits.

“We will continue to run after the Abu Sayyaf. There is no letup in the military operation in Basilan or in Sulu,” Bautista told newsmen at the military hospital here.

On the other hand, Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad called for a ceasefire of hostilities in the province and appealed for respect and observance of the Holy Week.

Just as the Christians respect the annual observance of the Ramadan, Jumoad appealed to Muslims to also show respect for the Lenten season.

During the visit, Bautista and Western Mindanao Command chief Lt. Gen. Rustico Guerrero awarded medals and provided some cash assistance to the wounded soldiers.

Bautista was also briefed by Guerrero on the ongoing military operation in the island provinces before he flew to Central Mindanao. – Roel Pareño, Evelyn Macairan

FROM THE MANILA TIMES

MILF fighters aided Abu Sayyaf – military April 15, 2014 10:41 pm by WILLIAM B. DEPASUPIL AND AL JACINTO REPORTER AND SENIOR CORRESPONDENT


Abu Sayyaf was founded in 1991 with suspected funds and training from Asian and Middle Eastern groups [AFP]

Malacañang is yet to begin reviewing the draft of the law that seeks to establish peace through a Bangsamoro region in Mindanao, but some kinks have emerged as members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have reportedly aided Abu Sayyaf rebels in engaging soldiers in fierce clashes last week in Basilan.

Armed Forces chief Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista confirmed that MILF members and Abu Sayyaf rebels fought side by side against the military. Two soldiers and 10 rebels were killed in the encounters in the towns of Tipo-Tipo and Ungkaya Pukan. Reports said 29 soldiers were also injured.

The MILF on Tuesday admitted that four of those slain were its members. The group denounced the killing, which happened just two weeks after the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro was signed to end the decades-old conflict in Mindanao.

Bautista clarified that the decision of the MILF fighters to join the Abu Sayyaf was not made by the MILF leadership.
“It was not the MILF per se but only individual members because they are relatives [of some Abu Sayyaf members]. We are in touch with the MILF,” he told reporters.

Still, Bautista said the MILF members who fought alongside the Abu Sayyaf rebels are also criminally liable and “the MILF should deal with them.”

He added that military operations against the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) will continue.

The ASG is behind kidnap-for ransom and extortion activities in the South. It was classified as a terrorist group by the United States Department of State.

The clash between members of the 104th Infantry Brigade and the combined force of the ASG and MILF took place on Thursday in Tipo-Tipo, Basilan. It was followed by two days of sporadic fighting.

Military spokesman Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala said the group engaged by the military was led by ASG Commander Fujuri Indama, one those responsible in the July 10, 2007 ambush of a military convoy also in Tipo-Tipo that left 14 Marine soldiers dead, 10 of them beheaded.

Fierce fighting erupted last Friday after troops stormed an Abu Sayyaf lair and clashed with about 60 militants.

“We were running after the ASG, and we told the MILF through our mechanisms that we are going to launch enforcement operations and they supported that. They have members in some areas where they [MILF] have no control, and these members have relatives who are Abu Sayyaf [members] [and] they probably joined [the fighting] in their individual capacity, not as MILF [as an organization], as relatives. The Armed Forces and the MILF are talking, so it’s very clear,” Bautista also told reporters while visiting wounded troops in Zamboanga City.

He defended the MILF, saying the country’s largest Muslim rebel group had no participation in the clashes.

“We have an agreement with the MILF and it is working and we are talking with their commanders during the operations and they support our operations. We know that the MILF is an irregular force, sometimes a member will have a relative who is a member of the ASG,” Bautista said.

Military spokesman Maj. Gen. Domingo Tutaan said they are verifying reports that as many as 32 rebels were killed and wounded in the fighting.

“All these [reports] came from the ground,” Tutaan also told The Manila Times.

Despite the massive military assault, the militants escaped, but the military said operations against the Abu Sayyaf will not stop.

The Army said the offensive targeted Abu Sayyaf leaders Puruji Indama, Nurhasan Jamiri and Isnilon Hapilon, but there were no reports whether they had been killed. Some 200 soldiers had taken part in the offensive.

‘Martyred’

But the MILF also on Tuesday said four of its fighters were slain in the Basilan clashes.

“Four of our members were martyred,” MILF Vice Chairman Ghazali Jaafar also told reporters.

The MILF has asked an international committee monitoring a ceasefire between the Philippines and the rebel group to investigate who was to blame for Friday’s violence, Jaafar said.

The fighting broke out two weeks after the MILF signed a political settlement to end more than four decades of an armed conflict that has claimed tens of thousands of lives in the mainly Catholic nation’s Muslim South.

The peace deal aims to create an autonomous Muslim area in Mindanao by early next year, with the MILF expected to disarm and put up candidates for a regional parliament in May 2016.

Jaafar said the government and the MILF are currently enjoying a “honeymoon.”

“We do not want this agreement to be disturbed by such unwanted incidents initiated by the military,” he added.
With AFP

One Response to MILF fighters aided Abu Sayyaf – military
apolonio reyes says:
April 16, 2014 at 7:22 am
MILF rebels who joined the Abu Sayyaf group of bandits were called ” martyred ” by Ghazali Jaafar, what then Ghazali Jaafar call the two Philippine Soldier who died fighting the bandits “INFIDELS”. What does Pnoy says about this fighting and Killings, Just like an ordinary killings done by Riding in Tandem, Yun-Yun Eh !


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