The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Friday, October 6, said it is studying the possibility of taking legal action against groups that may be found to be accessories to the rebellion in Marawi.
AFP spokesperson Major General Restituto Padilla, Jr., in a regular Mindanao Hour briefing in Malacañan, said some groups are planning to file charges against the AFP’s offensive operations in Marawi.
He however said that since the start of the crisis, these groups have exhibited indications that “they may have been partial to the terrorists or the rebels in the areas.”
He added that the AFP is already conducting a thorough research on these individuals, whom he said could possibly be “part or accessory to the rebellion.”
“And if we do find out and find good evidence stating and proving this, we will initiate the necessary legal actions to make them answerable for their crimes,” Padilla said.
“Again, the State has the right to defend itself and the offensives carried out in Marawi were in pursuit of that because we would like to bring back the rule of law and law and order in the area,” he said.
Padilla meanwhile assured that the AFP will never be behind any destabilization plot against President Rodrigo Duterte.
In fact, he said the AFP even thanks the Commander-in-Chief for promising to increase the salary of Filipino soldiers.
“Ito po’y isang bagay na talaga pong pinalakpakan at pinakahihintay ng iba nating mga kasundaluhan dahil malaki po ang tulong na maibibigay nito,” Padilla said.
“At kung ito’y ili-link natin sa mga usapang destabilisasyon, ‘yung usapan na ‘yan na naririnig natin, hindi ho manggagaling sa hanay ng Armed Forces ‘yan. Because we have a Commander-in-Chief who has malasakit for every soldier and is doing his end of the bargain of taking care of every uniformed men who are doing their job,” he said.
“Mapagkakatiwalaan niyo po ang inyong Armed Forces na gagawin natin ang nararapat lamang. At ito ‘yung nakalagay na mandato na dapat naming gampanan sa ating Constitution,” he added.
Padilla meanwhile expressed confidence that the Marawi crisis would end before the Philippine hosting of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit this November.
He however said that the AFP will not declare an end of hostilities until the last terrorist element offering resistance has been dealt with.
“Until such time na nagawa natin ‘yun, hindi pa po tayo magkakaroon ng deklarasyon,” Padilla said.
Padilla further noted that once the fight against the Maute terrorists is over, the AFP will continue to monitor the security landscape of Mindanao to ensure that there will be no repeat of the Marawi siege.
Clearing operations are also ongoing in the conflict areas, with more or less 200 buildings and facilities yet to be cleared of unexploded ordnances and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) planted by the terrorists.
“After the last fire or the last shot has been fired in Marawi, we expect to clear other areas as well, which means to say that there are other threats in the island that we need to address,” Padilla stressed.
“Because any threat coming from any part of Mindanao comprises or still affects the security of the whole island,” he added.
Meanwhile, Padilla cited that 17 hostages were recently rescued by the Armed Forces, while around 40 hostages still remain inside the conflict zone. He said the rescue of the remaining hostages will be the subject of AFP’s operations in the coming days.
MARAWI REHAB ONGOING
Meanwhile, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) stated that Task Force Bangon Marawi will continue to provide interventions to aid Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Marawi and other affected localities.
This week, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) delivered sewing machines and starter kits for garments production to IDP-sewers in Iligan City and Cagayan de Oro City.
“The beneficiaries of these kits are those who graduated from the Garments Training cum Production program of the DTI,” the OCD stated.
The Task Force also convened for its fourth all-agency meeting on Friday, October 6, at the National Emergency Operations Center in Iligan City.
The meeting would focus on the sub-committee updates and on other issues concerning the rehabilitation and recovery efforts for IDPs in all affected areas.
PALACE URGES CHURCH TO EXERCISE DUE DILIGENCE IN ASSISTING ROGUE COPS
In a statement, meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said that while the Palace welcomes the efforts of the Church in helping rogue cops in mending their ways, the Church should exercise due diligence.
“We hope the Church exercises due diligence as there are drug protectors, kidnappers, kotong and ninja cops who want to destroy the ongoing campaign against illegal drugs; furthermore we urge a certain objectivity to avoid being used by said aberrations,” Abella said.
Padilla, for his part, cautioned the Church to be discerning.
“It could be possible that not all those who seek the help of the Church, saying they are seeking help because they want to mend their ways may not be who they say they are. O baka ginagamit lang ang Church para makatakas sila nang husto at makabalik sa mga dati nilang ginagawa,” Padilla said.
“We do welcome the efforts of the Church as part of the community to assist, but be discerning in the process, so that we may be able to get the real individuals who really are sincerely on the way to mending their ways and not those who are merely using that as escape route,” he said. ### (PND)