'DOJ Mamasapano report should provide closure'
MANILA, Philippines – A government peace negotiator believes the recently-released report of the Department of Justice (DOJ) on the Mamasapano clash should now put the matter to rest, so that the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) can move forward.
National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) Secretary Yasmin Busran-Lao, who is also part of the government panel in negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), made the statement on Saturday, April 25.
"We consider the report as the closure of the Mamasapano issue. We need to move forward now and focus on convincing Congress that they need to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law as soon as possible," Busran-Lao said.
Congress has recently resumed its deliberations on the proposed BBL, the product of 17 years of negotiations between the government and the MILF.
The measure has come under fire following the Mamasapano clash on January 25 that killed 67 people, including 44 elite cops, 18 MILF members, and 5 civilians.
Busran-Lao stressed that the BBL will help ensure that incidents like what happened in Mamasapano will not occur again in the future.
"We need the BBL so we can establish the necessary mechanism on the ground to reduce and eliminate violence such as what happened in Mamasapano," Busran-Lao explained.
"We all want peace in Mindanao, and that is precisely what we intend to achieve under the proposed BBL," she emphasized.
In its report on the operation, the DOJ said that the Philippine National Police (PNP) Special Action Force (SAF) did not violate standing coordination protocols during the highly-secretive and now-controversial “Oplan Exodus,” contrary to the claim of the MILF.
The report of the Joint National Bureau of Investigation-National Prosecution Service Special Investigation Team (NBI-NPS SIT) also stated that based on its investigation, the SAF troops "tried to surrender" during the Mamasapano clash.
The DOJ report had recommended the filing of direct assault with murder and theft charges against some 90 members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), private armed groups, and the MILF in connection with the January 25 Mamasapano incident. – Rappler.com