Friday, June 14, 2013

Statement of GPH chair for talks with the MILF on the protested arrest of four alleged MILF members

From the Website of OPPAP

Statement of GPH chair for talks with the MILF on the protested arrest of four alleged MILF members

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Posted on Thursday, 13 June, 2013 - 14:21

The Government Negotiating Panel , through its Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH), has been furnished the copy of the protest filed by the MILF  on June 8 regarding the arrest of four alleged members of the MILF in three separate incidents.

We are presently reviewing the documents and the circumstances pertaining to the arrests.

Initial reports submitted by the Philippine National Police to the GPH Panel Chair indicate that the law enforcement operation in Polomolok, South Cotabato on May 31 was covered by two separate search warrants against two men. The search yielded several types of ammunitions and a weapon, leading to the men’s detention.   

The arrest of another male person in Pantao Ragat, Lanao del Norte on June 8 was, on the other hand, covered by a warrant of arrest issued on the charge of frustrated murder. 
We are still awaiting information on the fourth case of protested arrest in Sultan Kudarat province that reportedly took place on May 28.

The Ceasefire Guidelines prohibit “unjustified arrests”  -- not arrests per se.  In this regard, we are looking into the basis for the arrests, the procedures undertaken by the police in the conduct of these specific law enforcement operations, as well as the current situation of those who have been arrested.

We assure the families of those arrested that government will observe due process and all the attendant rights of the detained.

The GPH-CCCH will be issuing a reply to its counterpart MILF-CCCH as soon as the government completes its internal inquiry.  As in other cases of alleged violations of the ceasefire committed by either side, the process set out in the Ceasefire Guidelines shall apply. 

We continue to appeal for prudence on one and all to ensure that no opportunity will be given to those who wish to undermine the process.

- Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer