Let next president handle peace talks, senator tells Aquino
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Let next president handle peace talks, senator tells Aquino

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With the fate of the Bangsamoro law still uncertain following the bloody Mamasapano encounter, Senator JV Ejercito advised President Benigno Aquino III to let the next chief executive handle the government’s peace efforts.
“I am still open to the passage of BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law) provided that all components and provisions stipulated should adhere to the 1987 constitution. If the Aquino government fails to have it during its term, we can continue our efforts with the next Philippine president,” Ejercito said.
In a Facebook post, the senator said Aquino III cannot force members of Congress to pass the BBL unless his administration proves that the establishment of a Bangsamoro entity will result in lasting peace in Mindanao.
He pointed out that despite a peace agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), other rebel groups will still continue to threaten the government’s peace efforts.
“Peace efforts and the BBL are two different subjects. (It is not certain) that after the passage of the BBL, we will attain lasting peace in Mindanao. We have to realize that aside from MILF, there are other groups such as the BIFF (Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters), Abu Sayyaf and numerous private armed groups that excludes the growing numbers of New People’s Army in Mindanao,” Ejercito said.
“I am for peace! I am for peace with MILF, MNLF and hopefully with the BIFF in Mindanao. I am also for Peace with the CPP-NPA in the entire country. But this peace should be based on justice and coherent with the 1987 constitution,” he added.
Senator Ejercito, son of former President and incumbent Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada whose administration declared an all-out war against the MILF, said he initially supported the BBL “with closed eyes” but had to withdraw as a co-author because of the Mamasapano incident.
The MILF and its breakaway group, the BIFF, is being blamed for the killing of 44 elite troops in the January 25 police operation against terrorists Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, and Basit Usman in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

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