Pangilinan to military: Go after MILF 'lost commands'

MANILA -- Even as he called for peace talks with the Moro Islamic

Liberation Front (MILF) to continue, Senator Francis Pangilinan said Monday that rogue elements of the rebel group should be met with "the full force of the law."

u201cWe cannot simply turn a blind eye to the murderous and lawless armed elements in the area, who, with treachery, take advantage of the restraint exercised by our men in uniform out of respect for the peace process,” he said in a press statement.

In a text message to Sun.Star, the senator made clear that he was not blaming a clash in Basilan that left 19 soldiers dead on MILF "lost commands," or MILF members who have gone rogue. He said he meant rogue members of the group in general.

"We should continue to talk peace with the MILF but we should show no mercy for the murderous lost commands. We trust that the MILF will agree that these lost commands should be dealt with the full force of the law.”

A radio report on dzMM has quoted Armed Forces of the Philippines-Western Mindanao Command spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Randolph Cabangbang as saying the AFP reached an agreement with the MILF 113th Base Command in Zamboanga Sibugay and 114th Base Command in Basilan Saturday to return to their Areas of Temporary Stay.

The same radio report said the MILF has admitted of failing to coordinate with some of its members about a suspension of hostilities.

This led to ambushes in Basilan and Lanao del Norte.

Cabangbang also reportedly said the AFP is going after MILF members involved in kidnapping and extortion, and not the MILF itself. (Jonathan de Santos/Sunnex)

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