The Palace said the allegation of Jolo’s mayor accusing the military of conniving with the Abu Sayyaf to collect ransom money is a serious allegation and needs to be investigated since it may undermine the campaign of the government against the bandits.
Jolo’s mayor called on the government to investigate alleged involvement of military men in kidnapping for ransom in Sulu.
In a radio interview on Saturday, Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr said the context of the allegation must be understood because of its repercussions on the members of the military and the ongoing military offensive in Sulu.
“Kailangan siguro, Marie ‘no, unawain muna natin ‘yung konteksto kasi hindi naman magaan mapakinggan lang ‘yung mga ganyang salita ano. Medyo mabigat yata ‘yung paratang na nakapaloob diyan,” Coloma told dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.
“Paano naman kung basta-basta na lang natin tatanggapin ‘yan. Ang sagot agad natin imbestigasyon. Hindi naman yata makatwiran ‘no dahil nakikita naman natin na isinasagawa ng pamahaalaan ang nararapat at nag-uukol tayo ng puspusang pagsisikap sa pagtugon sa problema.”
Coloma also cited a recent statement of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, which said, it does not doubt the dedication and commitment of its members who are fighting the Abu Sayyaf.
“We do not doubt the dedication and commitment of our troops. In addition, commanders on the ground are in full control of our troops and are focused on their primary mission of getting these criminals and saving the hostages,” Coloma said quoting the AFP.
“There is also an established system to ensure no spies and traitors are in our ranks. There also exist strong measures to deal with those who have found to have violated their oath.”
According to the armed forces, the accusation can undermine government efforts against the criminals adding those raising such allegations must substantiate their accusations.
“Local government officials are at the lead of addressing peace and order in their community with the police and the AFP as partners. This cooperation and partnership is the cornerstone in coming up with a permanent solution to this perennial problem of lawlessness in their communities,” the AFP said as quoted by Coloma.
Local officials should also come up with socio-economic plans that can help the citizens veer away from supporting the Abu Sayyaf when they share the money received from kidnapping, the AFP said.
“After all, peace and order is their primary responsibility in their respective provinces,” it added.
Coloma said it’s unfair for a local official to accuse the military of conniving with the enemy without concrete basis.
Such allegation is not helpful for the members of the military, who are putting their lives on the line, just to maintain peace and ensure that everyone is safe against terrorist organization like the Abu Sayyaf, he said. PND (as)