Press Release
August 21, 2008

Exert moral suasion on MILF, Loren asks Muslim Ulamas

Senator Loren Legarda asked today Muslim religious leaders to exert moral suasion on the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to make an equivocal statement condemning the bloody takeover BY some of its units of several Lanao del Norte towns.

Legarda said that the surrender of some 30 MILF fighters under the command of two breakaway MILF commanders now wanted by the government for killing and using civilians as human shield was a positive development.

"Those who surrendered said their conscience bothered them and that they were merely forced to follow the orders of their leaders," said Legarda.

"This means there's hope that these two rogue MILF commanders can be ostracized by even their own men."

The senator expressed dismay with the statements of the MILF leadership, including its objection to the filing of criminal charges against the MILF units that left scores of people dead early this week.

"The MILF leadership must understand that its units stopped being ideologues or revolutionaries the moment they killed civilians and resorted to hostage-taking in their escape," she said.

Legarda said the MILF must not tolerate the wrongdoings of its rogue elements who should be brought before our criminal justice system.

An honorary Muslim princess, Legarda called on Filipino Ulamas to help achieve peace in Mindanao and the rest of the country by praying for and preaching about the universal concept of brotherly love regardless of social status or religion.

Legarda said the MILF leadership cannot justify the actions of its men in Lanao del Norte by saying they were angered by the scuttling of the MILF's memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the government.

"The Supreme Court (SC) ordered the setting aside of the MOA for valid reasons. The MILF must understand that the constitution and other laws of the land must be followed and respected because no one, not one person or one group, is above the law," she stressed.

Legarda pointed out that any group pushing for such an agreement must be ready to defend its soundness and legality using reason, and not force.

"What the rogue elements are pursuing is argumentum ad baculum in its most elementary form - a fallacy of reasoning in that one uses force to defend an idea. That's simply not acceptable in a civilized society," she said.

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