President Aquino vows to capture Usman; urges MILF cooperation PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 08 February 2015 15:05

President Benigno S. Aquino III on Friday strongly asserted that the government will do everything to capture high profile terrorist Abdul Basit Usman who escaped from the operation that led to the killing of international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias “Marwan” last January 25.

”May this serve as a warning and a reminder: We will get Usman, whatever you decide, regardless of who provides a safe haven for him, regardless of where he may be hiding,” the President said in his televised address to the nation.

The President also urged the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) leadership to help capture Usman.

”If he remains within your territory, or is protected by one of your members, we expect you to surrender him to the authorities. If not, we expect you to do everything you can to help capture him. And if even this is not possible, do not interfere with our pursuit of Usman,” President Aquino said.

”Let no one doubt: We are partners in pursuing peace and justice. To those who have lost their way, who would still stand in our way, remember this: You are fighting the State, and we will run you over,” he added.

President Aquino also expects the MILF to help the government in seeking justice for the 44 Philippine National Police (PNP) Special Action Force (SAF) men who were killed after the SAF troopers encountered the MILF and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) during the operation to arrest Marwan and Usman.

”To the members and leadership of the MILF: From the onset, I have considered you brothers on the path to peace. Until now, I am confident that you will help us in seeking justice; that those who have done wrong should be held to account, especially if it is confirmed that there were SAF troopers who were executed despite being wounded and defenseless. Your efforts to limit the movement of the BIFF are a good first step,” the President said.

The President reiterated the government commitment to give justice for the fallen SAF commandos.

”They were my responsibility, together with the rest of the forces of the SAF involved in this operation, as well as the those who rescued them, and whose lives were likewise put in danger,” the President said.

”To the members of our uniformed services: We are with you. We will stand in front of you, beside you, and behind you, as needed; whatever is required of you, be assured that we are with you. I assure you: You are not alone,” he added.

”Again, to the families of the fallen SAF members: No words can fully alleviate the pain of your loss. To each one of you, and to each person whose life was imperiled, I say to you today what the Filipino people said to us when we lost our parents: You are not alone,” he stressed.

The President also expressed commitment of the government to pursue peace in Mindanao under the ongoing peace agreement with the MILF.

”To all those working with us towards peace: We are fully committed to continuing the fight. And I say to those opposed to our objective, especially those who resort to violence: Mark my words, you will feel the sharpened and strengthened might of a unified Filipino nation,” he said.