Puno warns MILF on failure to surrender 3 commanders


INTERIOR Secretary Ronaldo Puno yesterday said the government expects the Moro Islamic Liberation Front leadership to surrender three sub-commanders who recently led attacks in various parts of Mindanao.

He warned of consequences of inaction on the part of the MILF leadership.

Puno said surrendering Commanders Umbra Kato, Bravo (Abdullah Saber Macapaar) and Aleem Sulaiman Pangalian will show the secessionist group’s “sincerity” in pursuing a peace agreement with the government.

“Kung wala silang gagawin, that is tantamount to tacit approval of the criminal actions of these lawless elements,” he said in a press conference in Camp Crame.

“If the leaders in the MILF Central Committee cannot help the government, then this will just show that they do not have the right to speak for the MILF because they cannot even control their members. Perhaps we should not be talking to them. Kapag hindi sila tumulong, nangangamba ako sa mga mangyayari sa susunod na mga araw,” Puno said.

Bravo (Abdullah Saber Macapaar), head of the MILF’s 102nd Base Command, has denied leading the attacks last Sunday in Iligan City and four towns of Lanao del Norte. The attacks left 28 dead, mostly civilians.

Aleem Sulaiman Pangalian, head of the 103rd base Command, is also being held responsible for the Lanao del Norte attacks.

Umbra Kato, head of the 105th Base Command, and his men forcibly took over 15 barangays in North Cotabato last month.

The rebels have been flushed out by the military.

The PNP has filed criminal charges against the three.

Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro on Thursday called on the MILF leadership to surrender Umbra Kato and Bravo.

The MILF leadership through chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal rejected his call, saying the government has no “jurisdiction” over the MILF ground commanders.

Puno also lashed out at militant groups which he said have been maintaining a “deafening silence” on the issue, particularly on the human rights violations committed by the MILF.

“Bakit di natin tanungin ang mga party list groups kung gusto nila ang patayan sa Mindanao o hindi… Dati kapag PNP ang involved, tadtad na kami ng human rights violations sa Commission on Human Rights,” he said. – Raymond Africa(Malaya)

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