Saturday| June 3, 2017
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is now ready to conduct arrest operations against suspected drug personalities linked with the Maute group following President Duterte’s statements that the Maute brothers have been using drug money to bankroll their goal to make Marawi City and the rest of Mindanao part of an Islamic State (IS) caliphate.
“There has been a list that has been approved, that in effect indicates identified personalities that need to be arrested,” AFP spokesman Gen. Restituto Padilla said yesterday in a Palace briefing.
Padilla said he is not privy to the details “but this will be the subject of implementation in the coming days.”
“I cannot divulge the names for security reasons. And whatever else that we can find in the next few days as potential supporters of this armed rebellion will be dealt with accordingly,” he said.
Padilla also said once the Marawi conflict is finally over, the military will shift its focus to hunting down individuals or groups who may have supported the Maute gunmen and their foreign cohorts in attacking the city Tuesday last week.
Padilla said an investigation will be conducted to determine the sources of high-powered firearms used by the Maute-IS terrorists.
“On the firearms they have been using against government security forces, it looks that they have stockpiled for some time, and we have (seized) a lot of them in the past few days,” Padilla said.
Initially, the military said the high-powered firearms were acquired by the terrorists from the black market.
But Padilla said the defense and military leadership are also not discounting the possibility that some of these weapons came from rogue members of the uniformed services.
On top of this, the terrorists were also able to seize government-issued ammunition and firearms when they raided and ransacked the provincial jail in the city.
The terrorists also seized a number of high-powered firearms from policemen after their armored personnel carriers were disabled by rocket propelled grenades.
There were talks that, aside from their IS backers in the Middle East, key personalities in Mindanao supportive of the Mautes have provided the terrorists with logistical support.
Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao last May 23 following the breakout of hostilities in Marawi. He also suspended the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.
The other day, Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said the government has ordered the arrest of members of the Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups and their suspected supporters.
The defense department issued the arrest order in its capacity as administrator of martial law.
Asked if the military leadership will recommend that the drug issue be included in the coverage of martial law now being implemented in Mindanao, Padilla explained rebellion and invasion are the only two conditions under the Constitution that would warrant martial law declaration.
“There are no conditions other than those. The conditions prevailing right now in Marawi and elsewhere in Mindanao constitute rebellion and partly invasion and that is where martial law was based,” Padilla noted.
The DOJ also said it is in the process of selecting the members of the four panels of prosecutors that would handle the cases to be filed against members of the Maute group.
Each panel will be composed of three members.
Aguirre likewise said they were thankful that prosecutors from Marawi City are safe.
“We need to provide them with all that we can to help them start serving the people again. Justice is a 24/7 commitment of the DOJ. The airlift of equipment and supplies to our prosecutors is our way of ensuring that we honor that commitment,” Aguirre said.
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SOURCE: YOUTUBE, PHILSTAR