Erap still wants all-out war vs MILF

Posted at 10/21/2011 3:27 PM | Updated as of 10/21/2011 10:57 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Former President Joseph Estrada believes it is time to wage another all-out war against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Estrada said the government already did everything in terms of peace talks and negotiations for 30 years. But after the incident last Tuesday, Estrada is convinced that peace talks are no longer effective in resolving the crisis.

"Nakipag-usap nga si President Aquino kay (MILF Chairman) Murad Ebrahim sa Tokyo. Ilang buwan lang tapos ganyan...Dapat ipakita rin natin that we have a strong government," he said.

Asked what his move would have been if he is still President, he said: "Tatapusin ko sila dahil marami nang namamatay na sundalo."

The former President took pride in how he was able to capture MILF headquarters Camp Abubakar, along with 13 major and 43 minor camps, when he declared an all out war against the MILF in 2000.

Suspend ceasefire

Senator Panfilo Lacson, meanwhile, called on President Benigno Aquino III to suspend the ceasefire to allow the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to hunt down those responsible for the Basilan killings.

“It's time for PNoy to do an Erap. Peace in Mindanao cannot be achieved unless a tactical victory is attained first by the AFP,” Lacson said in a press statement.

Lacson said the violence in Mindanao is happening because the government has been allowing it.

“It is time to untie the hands of our soldiers and authorize them to fight the MILF on equal terms and not handicapped by the so-called peace talks characterized by treachery and deceit,” he said.

“It is odd that our territorial integrity is being threatened from within. There is only one Armed Forces of the Philippines under only one Commander-in-Chief. Any other armed group outside AFP and PNP and other law enforcement agencies must be treated as enemy of the state and should be treated as such under existing laws of the Republic,” he added.

Biazon backs call

Congressional Defense Committee chairman Rodolfo Biazon also joined the clamor of voices calling for the suspension of the ceasefire.

Biazon, a former Marine Commandant and Armed Forces chief, expressed dismay at the inability of government troops to go after those behind the killings.

Biazon added that he will talk to other lawmakers to push for a proposal seeking the suspension of peace talks.

'No all-out war'

President Aquino, meanwhile, earlier said peace talks with the MILF would continue, saying no one benefits from an all-out war. 

Although he expressed sadness and dismay at the death of the 19 soldiers, Aquino ruled out an all-out war against the MILF, noting that he would not judge the whole organization because of "one rotten egg."

The President will convene a command conference Friday afternoon to discuss the incident and determine what corrective measures would be undertaken to prevent such incident from happening again. With reports from Zen Hernandez and Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News