MANILA, Jan. 30, 2015 — Former Defense Secretary Renato S. De Villa said he is deeply saddened by the deaths of 44 highly-trained police elements from the Special Action Force (SAF) in what he described as a “massacre” perpetrated by the combined Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
“Nothing can be clearer to show that the MILF has been hosting and protecting wanted terrorists (Marwan and Usman),” de Villa said in a statement sent to CBCPNews.
‘Stupid, flimsy excuse’
He added that the killings show that the MILF has violated the existing ceasefire with government forces and worse, betrayed the peace process by engaging the SAF troopers in several hours of firefight.”
It will be recalled de Villa served as Chief of the now defunct Philippine Constabulary/Integrated National Police under President Corazon C. Aquino and succeeded then Defense Secretary Fidel V. Ramos when the latter filed his certificate of presidential candidacy in 1992.
According to him, the MILF’s excuse that the SAF did not coordinate with them to enter their so-called territory is “stupid and flimsy.”
De Villa further said he couldn’t understand why the present crop of negotiators and some political leaders “seem to be downplaying the heinous crime committed by the MILF and seem to be afraid of accusing the MILF and scared of their reaction.”
He added he appreciates Senators Allan Peter Cayetano’s and JV Ejercito’s decision to withdraw support from the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law as he acknowledged Senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.’s decision to suspend deliberations on the same proposed legislative measure.
“They have shown more courage and are doing the right thing under the circumstances,” he said.
De Villa questioned whether Filipinos could still trust the MILF on their commitments to demobilize and live in peace after the passage of the BBL. (Melo M. Acuña/CBCPNews)