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Justice first before BBL passage: Cayetano

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter S. Cayetano said giving justice to the families of the 44 Special Action Force (SAF) operatives in the Mamasapano massacre should be the priority, vis-à-vis the ongoing peace process.

Peace not imbued with justice is not genuine peace, Cayetano stressed as he noted that Moro Islamic Liberation Front leaders remain defiant and refuse to surrender those involved in the January 25 encounter.

“Lahat naman tayo ay naghahanap ng kapayapaan. Pero walang tunay na kapayapaan kung walang katarungan. All throughout history, iyan po ang magkatugma, katarungan patungo sa kapayapaan,” Sen. Cayetano said after attending the 40th day memorial mass for slain SAF member Ryan Pabalinas in Zamboanga City

Cayetano said this does not bode well with the MILF, as they could not even hold their members accountable for the incident.

“Looking at the bigger picture, paano natin sila pagkakatiwalaan sakaling maipasa ang BBL (Bangsanoro Basic Law)? Ngayon pa lang, pinagtatakpan na nila ang kanilang mga miyembro at hindi papanagutin sa pagpatay ng ating SAF troopers,” Cayetano said. “At kahit pa nga sa maliit na bagay, paano tayo magtitiwala? Forty days na, ni cellphone at pitaka ng SAF 44 hindi maisoli.”

Cayetano also revealed that he received information that the MILF is conducting massive recruitment not for its political party, but combatants for its armed wing.

In addition, he noted that the MILF has not given any credible and concrete answers during the Senate hearings, especially on its alleged links to terrorists.

Cayetano appealed to his colleagues not to rush the passage of the proposed BBL.

“Bakit naman ang ating gobyerno, sobrang nagmamadali sa BBL at nakalimutan na ang katarungan? Paalala natin sa mga kasamahan natin sa Kongreso at Senado – ipinangako natin noong dinala ang SAF 44 sa Camp bagong Diwa, na uunahin natin ang Mamasapano hearing, ang hustisya. Doon lang tayo makikipag-usap sa MILF pagkatapos.”#

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