Philippines police chief tells commanders to coordinate with MILF in law enforcement ops
DAVAO CITY – Philippines police chief Ronald dela Rosa has told his commanders in Mindanao to coordinate with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in their law enforcement operations, especially if it involves criminal members of the rebel group or within their strongholds in the restive region.
“Ibalik yun pagsangguni o coordination (sa MILF), bahala na makaapekto sa success ng operation basta hindi tayo masisi sa huli,” Dela Rosa said at a forum by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process in Davao City.
Manila signed an interim peace deal with the MILF in 2014 that allows them to coordinate law enforcement operations through the ad hoc joint action group in areas where the rebels are actively operating.
The MILF recently protested the killing of a senior rebel commander, Mohaimen Abo, by police forces trying to arrest him on kidnappings and murder charges in Sultan Kudarat. Abo, brother of MILF deputy chairman Ghazali Jaafar, was slain in a firefight, police said.
It was unknown how Dela Rosa’s order would affect police operations against criminal members of the MILF. Any intelligence or information provided or shared by the police with the MILF for the arrest of its members wanted by authorities may jeopardize law enforcement operations and even demoralize or put the lives of policemen in grave danger.
Many MILF members had been previously linked by authorities to ransom kidnappings, extortion with some commanders providing safe refuge to other jihadists groups and foreign militants.
In February 2015, MILF rebels, alongside Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, killed 44 members of the elite police Special Action Force who were on a secret mission to capture Malaysian bomber Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan inside a rebel stronghold in Maguindanao’s Mamasapano town.
Zulkifli was eventually killed by police commandos who cut one of his fingers and passed it on to members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for DNA testing, but all 44 had paid for their lives after the military and police failed to rescue them following hours of fierce fighting.
Then President Benigno Aquino, who was aware of the daring mission, declined to order a military strike on the MILF to rescue the beleaguered troops for fear that it would affect the peace talks with rebels. The MILF is the country’s largest Muslim rebel group fighting for independence in Mindanao. (Mindanao Examiner)
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