The Philippine president says he has ordered the hunt for a Filipino terror suspect who escaped an anti-terrorist operation that resulted in the killings of 44 police commandos.

President Benigno Aquino III on Friday promised grieving relatives of the slain commandos that government forces will capture suspected bomb-maker Abdul Basit Usman. He says that Malaysian Zulkifli Bin Hir, one of Southeast Asia's top terror suspects, apparently was killed during the Jan. 25 operation.

Officials say a DNA test is still needed to confirm Zulkifli's identity.

The killings of the commandos in a clash with Muslim rebels is testing the government's peace deal with the insurgents, but Aquino and rebel leaders have committed to defend the agreement signed last year.