MANILA - Government peace panel chair Miriam Coronel-Ferrer clarified several points on the Mamasapano encounter and the peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) during an annual forum sponsored by the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) on Wednesday.
Ferrer cited the failure of proper coordination with the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AJAG), composed of representatives from the Philippine government (GPH) and MILF, as one of the key factors in the bungled police operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
She said previous operations against the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and other armed groups were successful because of coordination, even if only a few hours before their execution.
Ferrer also reacted to observations that it took such a long time for a ceasefire to be arranged between government and rebel forces.
She said the ceasefire committee did everything they could and also put their life at risk to stop the exchange of fire, but it was very difficult to control the skirmish with no information on what it was about.
Emotions were also running high on both sides as casualties mounted.
Ferrer expressed disappointment on what she called the "terrorist bogey," referring to questions and statements made by some senators during Tuesday's hearing.
She noted that the MILF is not listed as a terrorist organization anywhere, and expressed hope that the peace talks with the "pragmatic and moderate" rebel group will not be scuttled.
The government peace panel chair also reacted to a viral video that allegedly shows the execution of a hors de combat (injured fighter) by a still unidentified person.
If proven authentic, she said the individual must be held accountable based on international law.