MANILA, Philippines—“Give back the policemen’s equipment, surrender its fighters involved in their m******e, and help the government hunt down wanted terrorist Abdul Basit Usman.”
Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, chairman of the House’s ad hoc committee tackling the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), said these are the three conditions which must be fulfilled by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front if ever it wants to regain the trust of Congress.
“If they do their part, then we will know they are really sincere in their commitment to the peace process,” he said.
“When we trust them again, then we can vote for the BBL,” he said.
He admitted the BBL, if voted on right now, would never pass Congress.
“The BBL would have a hard time passing through us right now, so more confidence-building measures are needed,” he said.
44 Special Action Force commandos from the Philippine National Police were k****d by the combined forces of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and its splinter group the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters last January 25 after they raided the hideout of wanted terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan.
The debacle resulted in the indefinite suspension of hearings on the BBL from both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Rodriguez said the House of Representatives would resume public hearings next month.
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front returned at least 20 firearms and other items belonging to the slain policemen on Wednesday morning.
However, such an act alone would not be enough, as Rodriguez explained the group should also hand over its men who took part in the killings so they can face justice.
Lastly, they should also help apprehend Usman who is believed to have been wounded in the January 25 encounter and is currently in hiding somewhere in Maguindanao.