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PIA Press Release
2008/08/21

Commentary: MILF must pay for crimes

By Bong Pedalino

Tacloban City (21 August) -- The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has come down to its senses rightly so when it declared that the Moro rebels committed human rights violations when they went into a wild rampage, killing innocent civilians in many areas in Mindanao, and burning private properties.

Last time we heard it speak, the rights body focused its attention on displaced civilians who had no option but to leave their homes and possessions as the Armed Forces of the government moved in to regain foothold on attacked territories.

Now that it has voiced a strongly-worded statement, the CHR must follow it up with proper action, which is no other than bringing the culprits to Courts of Law, in order to account for deadly crimes against humanity.

*****

It won't be long before the two Moro bandits responsible for bloody carnage in Mindanao be caught by the long arm of the law.

Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Ronaldo Puno, in coordination with the Department of National Defense (DND), has put up a P 10 Million bounty -- a P 5 Million price tag each for the two -- for anyone who can provide accurate information leading to their arrest.

Puno had said proper charges had been filed at the fiscal's office so the two Moro commanders would be held to answer for the atrocities committed.

Indeed, its about time the rule of law should take its due course over the law of the jungle.

*****

The timely actions of the CHR, DILG, and DND lead into one single message only: that the MILF pay for the crimes done by its field commanders.

The payment here can be anything -- a literal sum of money to compensate for lives lost and properties destroyed, and a time sentence in jail following a long, drawn-out due process.

And while this is a developing development just yet, authorities might as well stop talking peace to these people until such time justice to all the victims shall have been duly served.

In the words of AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Alexander Yano, the MILF leadership has no control over its men in the field.

So, what's the use of talking with them, peace adviser Jun Esperon, Sir?

*****

LOCAL FRONT: Barely resting from the hectic "twin icons" celebration of Charter Day and City Fiesta, Mayor Maloney Samaco was in his elements once again when he graced the turn-over ceremony for the ten houses in a Gawad Kalinga village, Monday, at barangay Combado. In behalf of the beneficiaries, he was grateful to the Zialcita-Gaviola family for donating the one-hectare lot for the housing needs of the poor, even as he pledged that the city government would shoulder the cost of fuel for further development of the site, which is overlooking the city proper. The construction of houses on mountain tops surrounding the city is one proof its urban expansion is possible, just like in Hong-Kong, Samaco quipped. The first ten houses finished were part of twenty units solicited by Fr. Lope Lesiguez from the Our Lady of the Presentation Parish, New Jersey, USA. Gov. Damian Mercado and Cong. Roger Mercado were represented in the turn-over rites by Nikko Mercado, the ABC Provincial Federation President.

ODDLY YOURS: In its desire to host the "perfect Games", China had served notice early on to the various participating national Olympic committees that athletes or players with past records of cheating is a no-no in the Beijing Games. The strategy worked, for at the last count some 40 Olympic potential winners from various countries were barred from going, the ban issued right in their own homeland. Yet over the weekend, reports filtered that one track and field athlete was found doping in Beijing, and so was sent home even before tying the lace of the running shoes. Chinese Olympic authorities, though, should not be discouraged by this single incident; for in ancient Olympics, cheating was a way of achieving victory: boxers bribed opponents, wrestlers secretly oiled their bodies to lose the enemy's grip, runners cut corners, etc. For the players then, winning isn't the main thing -- it's the only thing. (PIA-Southern Leyte) [top]

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