The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is welcoming the creation of a board of inquiry which will investigate Sunday’s bloody clash in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, in which at least 44 elite cops and several Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters died.
Posted at 01/28/2015 10:40 AM
MANILA – The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is welcoming the creation of a board of inquiry which will investigate Sunday’s bloody clash in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, in which at least 44 elite cops and several Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters died.
CHR chairperson Etta Rosales noted that while the director of PNP-SAF, Leo Napeñas, has been administratively relieved, ”the PNP leadership has yet to identify who cleared the operation.”
”The Board of Inquiry must proceed with its work and in due course help bring to light the operational parameters and failures that could constitute criminal negligence,” Rosales said in a statement.
In a press conference on Tuesday, PNP officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina said the PNP’s top brass were not informed of the Mamasapano raid.
Interior Secretary Mar Roxas said the operation was meant to arrest a high-value target, Malaysian bomb maker Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan.
Rosales said the MILF must also assess the operational responsibility of its forces, in observance of human rights and international humanitarian law standards.
”From a human rights-based perspective, the principle of accountability must be emphasized,” she said.
”The sacrifice of our special forces demand no less than an honest assessment of the individual accountability in accordance with the principle of command responsibility.”
The MILF leadership is blaming the lack of coordination for the bloodshed. It said the MILF troops on the ground were not informed of the police operation.
But some observers are questioning the MILF’s justification for Sunday’s incident, especially after some SAF survivors claimed there was excessive use of force that led to the deaths of the 44 police commandos.
Rosales pointed out that certain mechanisms, such as the Committee for the Ceasefire and Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) and the International Monitoring Team (IMT), have been put up precisely to prevent such an incident from happening.
She noted that a similar incident in Al-Barka, Basilan, which resulted in the death of 19 Armed Forces of the Philippines soldiers. She said in the October 2011 incident, the soldiers were also supposed to serve warrants of arrests on high-value criminal suspects.
”Law enforcement and international security operations must be conducted with utmost professionalism, discipline and compliance with the approved rules,” she said.
Rosales also warned those with ulterior motives from using the incident in pushing for their agenda.
”We urge those who are angling to scuttle the Mindanao peace process to desist from exploiting the noble sacrifice of our special forces to achieve their ulterior motives. If at all, this incident has impressed upon all stakeholders the urgency of passing the Bangsamoro Basic Law,” she said.