Aside from the Maute Group, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and the Abu Sayyaf Group, about 20 other terrorist organizations with Islamic State links are operating in Mindanao.
The lead government lawyer, Solicitor General Jose Calida, revealed this to the Supreme Court in justifying the proclamation of martial law in the entire Mindanao.
“The survival of the State hangs in the balance,” Calida said in the memorandum submitted to the Supreme Court Monday.
Based on the 85-page memorandum, these groups are the following:
Ansar Dawiah Fi Filibbin
Rajah Solaiman Islamic Movement
Al Harakatul Islamiyah Battalion
Jama’at Ansar Khilafa
Ansharul Khilafah Philippines Battalion
Bangsamoro Justice Movement
Khilafah Islamiya Mindanao
Abu Sayyaf Group (Sulu faction)
Syuful Khilafa Fi Luzon
Ma’rakah Al-Ansar Battalion
Dawla Islamiyyah Cotabato
Dawlat Al Islamiyah Waliyatul Masrik
Ansar Al-Shariyah Battalion
Jamaah al-Tawhid wal Jihad Philippines
Abu Dujanah Battalion
Abu Khubayn Battalion
Abu Sadr Battalion
Jamaah Al Muhajirin wal Anshor
Calida said the rebellion being waged by these groups is endangering public safety. He added that the violent activities of these groups increase in frequency and geography.
Calida said these 20 terrorist cells have already launched attacks in Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Zamboanga and Davao and their main objective is to remove the whole Mindanao from its allegiance to the Philippine government.
In fact, Calida said there are already 43 violent attacks by the terror cells consisting mostly of using improvised explosive devices (IED). The militants also harassed villages and engaged in kidnapping activities, he added.
“In determining whether sufficient factual basis exist, this Honorable Court should not limit itself to the tragic Marawi siege. The vicious and destructive acts by these groups against the military and the civilian populace are numerous and continuous, and have been taken into account by President Duterte before issuing Proclamation No. 216,” Calida told the high court through the government’s memorandum.
Calida said the Supreme Court should take judicial notice that the armed conflict in Marawi has been going on for almost 30 days now.
“This alone is proof enough that the goal of these lawless elements is not merely to sow fear and panic to the populace, but to actually establish a stronghold in the Mindanao region and deprive duly-constituted authorities of their powers and prerogatives,” Calida said.
The 85-page memorandum of the government, however, did not address the allegations of human rights violations raised by the three petitions.
There all a total of five martial law-related petitions. Three of the petitions have been consolidated and the subject of the three-day oral argument last week. The petitions sought the nullification of Proclamation 216 declaring martial law in the entire Mindanao while the two other petitions asked the high court to order both houses of Congress to hold a joint session to decide whether to approve or revoke martial law.