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Halt peace talks, find out the truth –Duterte

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DAVAO CIty Mayor Rodrigo Duterte believes that the peace process between the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) should be shelved up until the time that all questions behind the Mamasapano incident are answered.

“In the meantime, there should be a stop…sabihin sa MI[LF] ngayon, hinto muna tayo, we will sort out things, what really happened, and after that we are ready to talk again,” said the unabashed and at-times sharp-tongued mayor.

On January 25, some 44 members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) died at the hands of MILF rebels in Mamasapano, Maguindanao in a clash that has been described as both a “mis-encounter” and a “massacre”.

As of now, multiple investigations from the PNP, the legislature and elsewhere are being readied to find out exactly what doomed the SAF commandos, some of whom were even mutilated and stripped of the weapons and clothing.

“Justice should be served, no matter who will be affected,” Duterte said. “Let the chips fall where they may.”

The politiko, who is being convinced by supporters (particularly from Mindanao) to throw his hat in the May 2016 presidential elections, pleaded to Filipinos to “keep an open mind” on the issue, saying the handling of it shouldn’t be overrun with emotions.

“Let us treat this with an open mind, huwag tayong magpadala sa emosyon kasi if this thing goes out of hand…ang battleground nyan kami…Walang pinaka interesado dito sa buong mundo sa Mindanao kundi kami (…we will become the battleground…no one in the world is more interested about the sake of Mindanao than us),” he explained.

Duterte is known to have a positive relationship with the MILF.