23 February 2015

Government will go after those responsible for the death of the 44 police commandos, says Palace
The government will charge those responsible for the death of the 44 police commandos in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, once they have been identified, a Palace official said on Monday.

“Let us wait for the report of the (Philippine National Police’s) Board of Inquiry because we have yet to identify who these people are. So if charges are filed, we will go after them. It is our responsibility to enforce the law,” Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda told reporters during a press briefing in Malacañang.

Lacierda was responding to a question on the need for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to surrender their members who were involved in the deadly encounter between Moro rebels and the police commandos during the latter’s mission to arrest two terrorist suspects in Mamasapano last January 25.

“When crimes have been determined and those to be charged identified based on due process, as embodied in Philippine laws, the government will enforce the law without fear or favor,” he said, quoting Presidential Peace Adviser Secretary Teresita Deles.

President Benigno S. Aquino III, in a public address, asked the MILF to show their sincerity to the peace process by returning the belongings and firearms seized by the rebels from the slain police commandos; surrendering those who killed the police officers; and helping capture suspected terrorist Abdul Basit Usman, who had evaded arrest during the operation. PND (ag)