Press Release
July 12, 2007


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino "Nene" Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today called on the Armed Forces of the Philippines to hunt down extremist and terrorist elements who were responsible for the dastardly attack and barbarious slaying of 14 Marine soldiers who were deployed to Basilan to look for Italian priest, Fr. Giancarlo Bossi who was abducted two weeks ago.

"The beheading of the Marine soldiers demands forceful response from government to assert the rule of law in Basilan. Too bad, the acts of the extremist call for more violence in their homeground. May the innocent be spared," Pimentel said.

It is time that the government saddles Gov. Jum Jainuddin-Akbar with the responsibility to maintain law and order in Basilan Province. After all, the maintenance of law and order is the function of the civilian authorities like Akbar.

In the face of allegations that rebels from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) might have participated in the carnage, the senator from Mindanao stressed that the despicable incident should not pose a stumbling block to the resumption of the peace talks and forging of a final peace agreement.

Pimentel lamented that the prolonged hiatus in peace negotiation, as a consequence of the Arroyo government's indecision in resolving the contentious issues has eroded the level of trust between the government and MILF, making inevitable violent but senseless skirmishes such like what happened in Basilan.

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