Groups Call for Probe on Marines’ ‘Role’ in Jolo Blast

Mar. 29, 2006

DAVAO CITY The Mindanao PeaceWeavers, a group of peace advocates from civil society in Mindanao, is calling for an impartial investigation into reports that members of the Philippine Marines may have been behind the bombing in Jolo on Monday.

The Mindanao PeaceWeavers, aside from strongly condemning the bombings and killings in Sulu, calls on the Armed Forces of the Philippines to let the police investigation take its due course with the AFPs paramount cooperation, rather than coddle the Marine-suspects, the group said in a statement.

The Suara Bangsamoro, a party-list group, made the same call. It also asked authorities to investigate past killings and incidents allegedly involving members of the military. One cannot discount the fact that since the coming of the US troops and during the holding of Balikatan exercises, several cases of attacks in Tausug communities also took place that made the people of Sulu conclude that the elements of the military and the Marines have been emboldened in their attacks against the people, said Amira Ali Lidasan, Suaras national vice-chairperson.

Meanwhile, Ibon Foundation, an independent think tank, denounces President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyos renewed push for the passage of an Anti-Terrorism Bill in the wake of the Jolo bombing. In the context of Proclamation 1017 and other repressive measures of the Arroyo administration, the Anti-Terror Bill will only further stifle legitimate public dissent against government policies while targeting members and supporters of progressive militant groups, said Ibons research director Antonio Tujan in a statement.

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