As of Friday night, elements of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front that were spread out in Payao and in Sapad, Lanao del Norte had already pulled out.
Information from officials of the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA) relayed thru Ladie Marohombsar of Pagsabua sa Kalasan Inc. based in Marawi City said the military wanted to solely undertake the rescue mission.
Marohombsar cautioned, however, that “the rescue still needed a diplomatic approach and should not risk the safety of Fr. Bossi.”
But Prof. Rudy Rodil, head of the government peace panel, said the MILF just repositioned their fighters because their presence along the highway might cause alarm among civilians.
“As officer-in-charge for the past days of GRP peace panel, I gave instructions to sustain the coordinative actions of AFP and MILF thru Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG), provided that information on developments be confirmed by the government side,” he said.
He added the AHJAG terms of reference expired last June 22 and that its extension is limited only to the rescue operation for Bossi.
Brig. Gen. Edgardo Gurrea of AHJAG also said that they are still coordinating closely with AFP and PNP units for the rescue operation.
“The MILF is still supporting the operations. There might be repositioning of their elements as the situation dictates,” he said.
“There was an agreement done in June 29 that forces will concentrate on intelligence works in the meantime. The MILF members also need to attend to their responsibilities, families and livelihood.” Marine Maj. Gen. Benjamin Dolorfino explained.
Dolorfino also mentioned that “the troops now are just in nearby Malabang and Pualas, Lanao del Sur,” but he did not say anything about the exact location of the abducted priest and his captors.
Bossi was snatched by 10 armed men while he was on his way to officiate a mass in a neighboring barangay.
Colonel Reynard Roney Javier, commanding officer of the 103rd Infantry Brigade based in Marawi City, sent out troops to validate reports that the victim was brought to Lanao.
“But it seems that they (MILF), too, don’t have information on the abductors’ whereabouts, so they just went home,” he said.
The motive for Bossi’s abduction has remained unknown giving rise to some speculations that politics was behind it.
But Dolorfino refused to speculate on the motive. “I don’t know. I can’t comment without concrete basis,” he said.
He also refused to divulge information gathered by emissaries sent by the church and the MILF.