Peace Process in Mindanao

The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) "Maguindanao" on Monday sought the help of all the stakeholders in the peace process in Mindanao, particularly the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) for the speedy arrest of the 92 remaining at large suspects in the gruesome 2009 Maguindanao Massacre.

SITG “Maguindanao” chief, Police Senior Supt. Keith Ernald Singian, said that they will not hesitate to explore other remedies like seeking the cooperation of all the stakeholders in the Mindanao Peace Process to finally account for all the suspects at large and bring justice to the massacre victims.

Singian added that some of the remaining at-large suspects have fled to hide in areas occupied by MILF forces in Mindanao, which has complicated the manhunt.

He said that in deference to the ongoing peace process between the government and the MILF, the CIDG has exercised due diligence in running after the remaining suspects hiding in the MILF area for reason that any troop movement that government forces take within the MILF area, even if the reason is to account for the massacre suspects and not political in nature, might be misconstrued by the MILF as a violation of the peace process.

With the signing of the Framework of Agreement between the Philippine Government and the MILF, the CIDG through the peace process panel will seek the cooperation of the MILF to help government law enforcers to account for the remaining at-large Maguindanao massacre suspects hiding in MILF territories.

Singian also said that they will use the social media to reach out to the public for information that will lead to the arrest of the remaining suspects.

Singian, said that at present, nine of the principal suspects are already accounted for and are facing 56 counts of murder at the at the sala of Judge Jocelyn Reyes-Solis of Quezon City Regional Trial Court.

They are Datu Akmad “Toto” Ampatuan Sr., Datu Andal Ampatuan Sr., Datu Anwar Ampatuan, Datu Sajidb Ampatuan, Datu Zaldy “Puti” Ampatuan, Esmael Canapia, Takpan Dilon, Datu Andal “Unsay” Ampatuan and Datu Anwar Upam Ampatuan alias “Ulo” who was arrested last August 28, 2012 in BF Resort, Las Pinas City.

While 103 are now under detention, 92 remain at large, among them are nine members of the Ampatuan clan involved in the massacre, 64 Civilian Volunteer Organization (CVO) members, eight policemen, four AFP personnel and seven others. Last November 1, 2012, the CIDG has arrested Abedin D Almada, alias Commander Bedi, in Surallah, Cotabato.

He said that the fictitious and similarity of names and aliases of the suspects, lack of identifying documents, birth certificate and photos have made it difficult for CIDG operatives to implement the arrest warrants. – By Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan

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