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MILF dared to make commander ‘own up’ to N. Cotabato siege

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By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 15:53:00 08/13/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. has dared the leadership of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to make one of its commanders “own up” to the occupation of 15 villages in North Cotabato.

“It is also perhaps incumbent on the MILF that a member of theirs has committed a criminal act to make him own up to it, it also reflects on their credibility as an organization,” Teodoro said in a phone interview from Cotabato City Wednesday.

Police are preparing charges of multiple murder, arson, and robbery against Umbra Kato, the commander of the MILF’s 105th Base Command, over their over two-week-long siege of 15 villages in five towns in the southern province.

The MILF has not disowned Kato, even as the military has branded him and his men “rogue” elements.

“If they [MILF] insist that he is a legitimate commander, and a legitimate commander does a criminal act, in the Armed Forces [that is submitted to] court martial,” the defense chief said.

On Wednesday, following three days of air bombardments and artillery fire, the military announced that Kato and his men were dislodged from all 15 villages.

Teodoro said about half of the 160,000 refugees who fled from the fighting have started returning to their homes.

View article as posted on INQUIRER.net

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Written by joelguinto

WedUTC2008-08-13T08:12:23+00:00UTC08bUTCWed, 13 Aug 2008 08:12:23 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am08

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