Press Release
February 9, 2015

Drilon to MILF: Be one with us in finding the truth

Senate President Franklin M. Drilon urged the Moro Islamic Liberalization Front (MILF) to take an active role in the pursuit of the justice for the families of the 44 Philippine National Police-Special Action Force slain in the Mamasapano encounter. He called on the leaders of the MILF to provide any information that would lead to the capture of Abdul Basit Usman who remains at large, and to purge the MILF grounds of terrorists and criminals.

"To our brothers in the MILF, I ask: Be one with us in finding the truth in the Mamasapano clash and in giving justice to the family of those who have been slain. Let the guilty be punished," said Drilon in his opening statement during the Senate's hearing on the Mamasapano encounter.

The Senate chief asked the MILF to stand united with the government in its fight against terrorism and urged them not to provide refuge to Usman and other terrorists and criminals.

"When the government goes after them, do not stand in the way; rather, show us the way. Now, more than ever, we must show the people that we both desire peace," he stressed.

Drilon said the investigation on the Mamasapano encounter should let the truth to come out and enable the government to assess its existing counter-terrorism campaign in order to prevent the likes of the ill-fated Mamasapano encounter from happening again.

"But our search for 'the whys and the hows' must not be obscured by a blinding impulse or a single-minded purpose to merely find fault, or to finger point, or to lay the blame for blame's sake," he emphasized. "Lives were lost, we also must find out how lives could be safeguarded and saved in future campaigns against terrorism and lawlessness."

Drilon also said the tragic event highlighted the need for an urgent review of the country's counter-terrorism protocols and security capabilities in order to better protect the country from terrorism and lawlessness.

"The tragedy that has befallen our 44 heroes reveals the brute force and mercilessness of terrorism. At the culmination of this inquiry, we expect to come out stronger in our fight against those threatening to cause mayhem under the guise of advancing an ideology," Drilon underscored.

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