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Suspension is all there is to it

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Three months of suspension is what Dan Asnawi and two of his troop commanders got for staging an ambush and killing 18 Philippine Marines. The suspension stemmed from the recommended sanction of the International Monitoring Force. Indeed life is cheap in the areas of conflict where ceasefire is supposed to be imposed an effective. From our point of view, any which way we look at this, this is not any serious than a tender tap.

This is not even a punishment in fact, on the contrary, it serves as an encouragement for the trigger- happy members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to go on their usual surprise attacks on government peace keeping forces. Sad to say, what we only hear from the government side is that the case is now close and the suspension is better than nothing at all.  It is this lackadaisical attitude on the part of the government that invites aggression from the enemy.

In fact following that so-called “suspension order” we again heard of bombings in Cotabato City. Prior to that Kidapawan jail which housed a convicted MILF commander who was involved in many criminal activities was also assaulted by armed men out to ferret from detention.  Expect therefore a perceptible increase of adventurisms which are not limited to ambuscades from the secessionist fronts. It will not also harm if our local government officials and the members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines assigned in critical areas of conflict to raise their vigilance.

It will not also harm if we keep an eye on the IMTs themselves for it does not stand to reason why it is alleged that the recommendation for a light suspension came from them. It is our position that given the manslaughter and atrocities committed by the forces of Asnawi, it will be imprudent for any court of law to merely consider suspension as a form of just punishment.  On the other hand, we can live with this insult if this is a prelude to peace.

But it looks like neither the MIT nor the MILF is prepared for that agenda as, in the case of the latter, it is not ready to let go of their commanders in the field. This is an abnormal development in an equally abnormal time. In all these unraveling events we do not know where our peace negotiators position themselves. Their sepulchral silence suggests their disturbing acquiescence to what the MILF demands.

by Menardo Wenceslao




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