From the Philippine Star (Mar 4): Military cited for humane treatment of MILF leader
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has thanked the military for the humane treatment extended to its commander, Wahid Tundok, who was arrested last week for criminal cases, but was freed after his arrest warrant was recalled.
Col. Dickson Hermoso, spokesman for the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said the group expressed gratitude during a thanksgiving event in Maguindanao on Saturday.
The event, known locally as kanduli, was a gesture of Tundok’s gratitude for the care given to him while he was with the military.
“The MILF expressed their sincere thanks and recognition for the statesmanship of Maj. Gen. Romeo Gapuz, who handled the situation for the sake of peace,” Hermoso said.
Tundok, who was accused of multiple murder and arson, was arrested in Cotabato City last week based on a warrant issued by a local court.
Hermoso said Tundok’s impression of the military changed because of the humane treatment he had received while staying at the Kampilan Hotel inside the compound of the 6th ID camp.
“Tundok promised to convince his comrades to uphold peace and members of other armed groups in Maguindanao to join the government-MILF peace bandwagon,” he said.
Three days after the arrest, government negotiators announced the warrant against the MILF leader was recalled and that preparations for his release were underway.
Some camps expressed dismay over the decision to release Tundok, noting the criminal cases against him were not related to the MILF’s advocacies.
They said Tundok should face justice as he was tagged in clan wars that affected several civilians.
Tundok’s arrest warrant was recalled as the government and the MILF were preparing to sign a final peace pact, which they believe, will put an end to the Mindanao conflict.
Officials expect the peace agreement to be inked this month.