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Opinion

EDITORIAL - Can the MILF be trusted as peace partner?

The Freeman

There is only one question that needs to be answered in light of the Mamasapano massacre, in which 44 members of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force were killed by combined forces of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Bangsamoro Islamic Liberation Front, and that question is whether the MILF can be trusted at all as a dialogue partner in the quest for peace in Mindanao.

All other questions become irrelevant unless this one question gets answered truthfully first. Only when this one burning question gets answered truthfully may all other questions be legitimately asked, otherwise all answers to the other questions, no matter how appealing and enticing the answers may be, will not matter in the final analysis.

For everything else will have to depend on whether or not we are not just being led by the nose or worse, being fried in our own fat, by a dialogue partner that has no intention of sticking to its side of the bargain. This question about the trustworthiness of the MILF is a valid question. It is not asked out of spite, it is not asked out of malice. It is, on the other hand the mother of all questions, from where all succeeding questions and answers will have to come.

What seems surprising is that this question appears never to have been asked at the outset. Perhaps we simply allowed ourselves to be dazed by the prospect of peace that we forgot to start with the essentials. And that is very very wrong. Nobody but nobody should start building on something unless unless the veracity and the integrity of the foundation is first ascertained. And that foundation is trust.

But it is not too late. At the very least, all the hearings required for the Bangsamoro Basic Law to be legislated have been suspended. That allows us to take a long and hard second look at where we are and whether where we have gone and what we have accomplished so far were not the result of some fool's errand that we relentlessly but mindlessly pursued and carried out.

Had we done our homework at the outset, there would have been no need to justify any open examination of the MILF's trustworthiness. That would have been a given. At this point in time, however, and having gone this far, we would need a real compelling reason to demand a display of trustworthiness, lest we be accused of untrustworthiness ourselves.

But that real compelling reason is at hand. Despite what Teresita Deles says in unabashed defense of the MILF, the unassailable fact is that the MILF had been harboring two wanted terrorists and therefore in violation of peace talk protocols. These terrorists were what led the PNP-SAF commandos to the MILF lair and to their deaths. Splitting hairs about the terrorists being in either MILF or BIFF territory is just semantics. Let us not kid ourselves. And let us not be fooled by the MILF.

 

ANSWERED

ASKED

BANGSAMORO BASIC LAW

MAMASAPANO

MILF

MINDANAO

MORO ISLAMIC LIBERATION FRONT AND THE BANGSAMORO ISLAMIC LIBERATION FRONT

PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE SPECIAL ACTION FORCE

QUESTION

QUESTIONS

TERESITA DELES

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