Monday, February 2, 2015

Negroponte: SAF massacre should spur BBL review

By Ed Velasco, Daily Tribune


Even a top American diplomat who was also a former US ambassador to the country had joined calls for a thorough review of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in the aftermath of the Mamasapano carnage of 44 Special Action Force commandos by a combined force of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).


Former US Ambassador John Negroponte also questioned the execution of the SAF operations that targeted the Malaysian terrorist bomb-making expert Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan.

The recent carnage in Mamasapano, Maguindanao should be a reason for the Philippine government and all Filipinos to consider thoroughly if the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is worth enacting, Negroponte said.

What bothers the 75-year-old retired diplomat is how come the death toll on the side of the police forces was so high if the assault was a well-planned operation. Negroponte is an expert in counterintelligence and covert military operations.

“First of all, we would like to convey the deep condolences being sent by the American people to the families of the 44 cops killed in that horrible mission. For me, this is an issue that calls for your government and people to think very carefully if the peace process and this BBL that you mentioned are worth pursuing.
“I agree with the statement of (Foreign Affairs Secretary) Ramon del Rosario that this incident should unite rather than divide the Filipino people,” Negroponte said.
Negroponte, who was US ambassador to the Philippines from 1993 to 1996, was a guest at the launching of US-Philippines Society at the Manila Peninsula last Friday. Negroponte said he was speaking as a private citizen and not part of the US government because he has retired some years back. 
He admitted that the recent bloodbath that claimed to have killed Marwan is not a laughing matter as it involves some of the country’s most elite policemen.
Negroponte was considered to have played key roles in the overthrowing of the Sandinista government in Nicaragua and in the arrest of Saddam Hussein in Iraq when he serve as ambassador to those nations.  
He said if the government is talking to MILF members, it should also look at the participation of those people at the bloodbath. “You should not fall in the spirit of incrimination,” he added.

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