A member of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace panel believes that branding the Mamasapano incident as a massacre is a disservice to the gallantry of 44 police commandos “who fought a bloody war.”
Hadji Abdullah Camlian took issue with the Senate finding, saying that the word “massacre” applies only to unarmed victims.
“In my view, the term ‘massacre’ is if you kill people, murder people (who are unarmed) and have no way to fight back, you kill them in group, or whatsoever, that is massacre,” said Camlian at the sidelines of the commemoration of the 47th anniversary of the Jabidah Massacre on Corregidor Island on Wednesday.
Camlian cited the definition of massacre by the Cambridge Dictionaries as “the killing of a large number of people, esp. people who are not involved in any fighting or have no way of defending themselves.”
He said the SAF men came to Mamasapano in full battle gear, ready to fight and knew what they were getting into.
Trapped and outnumbered, the commandos died fighting with only one survivor.
“You removed their (SAF men) being heroes, you removed their being gallant fighters,” said Camlian. “They fought a bloody war, they fought, bravery was there, then you say it is a massacre, that means they were unarmed.”
Camlian led a group of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) fighters who trained in military and guerilla warfare on Jampiras island in
“Masasayang ‘yong mga medals, the honor bestowed upon these people. They were not massacred, they fought a gallant fight,” said the MILF negotiator. “And I salute them for their bravery, we salute them for their sense of duty to honor the country. But as I said, to call that incident a massacre, that is a misnomer.”
Camlian said the genuine massacres were committed against the Moros in the Jabidah Massacre, the Manili Massacre, the Pata Massacres, Bud Daho Massacre because the victims were not armed and had no way to defend themselves.
Saying the SAF 44 were massacred, is “a misrepresentation of their gallantry, who died fighting war, it is martyrdom.”
Camlian said the commandos “did not chicken out. If they chickened out, then maybe they were massacred. But they did not chicken out, they fought.”
The Mamasapano incident was not the first time, according to Camlian.
He recalled that the PNP’s predecessor, the Philippine Constabulary (PC), had an elite group called the “Nenita Unit” which was sent to the Korean War in the 1950s.
“They were so proud with their accomplishments that when they came home they were sent to capture or neutralize Kamlon and his men in Jolo, Sulu. Kamlon wiped them out, with only one survivor. But there was no national uproar then,” he said.
Camlian was referring to Hadji Kamlon, a World War II guerilla hero who led a rebellion from 1948 to 1955.
The MILF peace panel member said when recruits joined the Armed Forces (PNP) or the Philippine National Police (PNP), they know what they are going to face.
“One of your feet is already in the hole (grave). And your family must realize that. Otherwise, if your family is not willing that you might die in the line of duty, you should not allow a family member to join the security forces of the government,” said Camlian.
“Unfortunately, in war you either kill somebody, or be killed. That is the law of war,” he added.
Camlian was reacting to the Senate draft report presented by Senator Grace Poe Llamanzares describing the Jan. 25 incident as a massacre.