Third-party probe on Paglas incident necessary, says Galvez

Ferdinandh Cabrera

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Third-party probe on Paglas incident necessary, says Galvez

Photo courtesy of Medin Malagenti

The MILF says there was no prior coordination with them when law enforcers conducted a raid on June 18 which resulted in 7 of its members killed in Maguindanao del Sur

COTABATO City, Philippines – Presidential peace adviser Secretary Carlito Galvez said on Thursday, June 22, that Malacañang has ordered an impartial investigation into the police operation in Datu Paglas, Maguindanao del Sur, that left seven Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) dead on June 18.

Galvez, who visited the Philippine Army’s 6th Infantry Division headquarters along with Special Assistant to the President Secretary Anton Lagdameo, said the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU) received a resolution from the MILF central committee asking President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to call for an independent and impartial probe of the Datu Paglas incident.

“A fair investigation is necessary and the participation of third party is important to come up with reasonable findings,” Galvez said.

Galvez said he has recommended to the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to come up with the official report and submit it to Bangsamoro Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim “so our law enforcers can air their side.”

Earlier, BARMM lawmakers pushed for the return of a third-party monitoring team to ensure the ceasefire mechanism is implemented to the letter by both sides.

But Galvez said the Department of Foreign Affairs would have the say on this matter.

The Police Regional Office-BARMM and the 6th Infantry Division claimed it was a legitimate police operation against wanted persons Nasser Husain and his brother Norjihad, who both died in the operation.

Stressing the fatalities were legitimate MILF members, the MILF claimed there was no prior coordination with them when state forces conducted the law-enforcement operation in MILF communities as stipulated in the Government of the Philippines-MILF 1997 general agreement on the cessation of hostilities.

Mohaqher Iqbal, former MILF chief negotiator, said the mechanism was not followed in the Paglas operation.

Galvez, citing a report from law enforcers, said the subject of the Paglas operation was verified and confirmed to be affiliated with the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

But, he added, the OPAPRU is open to a third-party investigation to clear all gray areas.

Lagdameo said the Department of Justice and the National Bureau of Investigation will come into the picture for the independent probe. 

The Bangsamoro Transition Authority, sponsored by member of the parliament Baileng Mantawil, has also sponsored a legislative inquiry in aid of legislation after the family of the victims decried the injustice. –

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