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Bato: Martial law makes it easier to arrest Maute members

“Nakakatulong yung martial law talaga dahil you can just imagine yung mga sumibat na mga wounded na Maute members, yung naintercept pa natin hanggang Iloilo,” Philippine National Police Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa said. Facebook/Philippine National Police

MANILA, Philippines – While the declaration of martial law in Mindanao has been questioned at the Supreme Court, Philippine National Police Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa believes it is beneficial because of the  “easy” arrest of suspected local terrorists.

Dela Rosa said Monday that the military rule declared by President Rodrigo Duterte for Mindanao last month gave them basis to apprehend suspected ISIS-inspired Maute group members whose comrades are currently controlling some parts of Marawi City in Lanao del Sur.

“Kung walang martial law, walang arrest order against sa kanila, hindi natin basta-basta mahuli ‘yun lalo na wounded kahit na alam nating wounded sila sa giyera. Kahit na Maute ka, kahit na alam natin na sumasama ka doon sa kanila, e walang case na na-build up against sa'yo, so walang warrant na lumabas,” the PNP chief said in an ambush interview after he graced a ceremony for national hero Jose Rizal's 156th birth anniversary in Calamba, Laguna.

“Ngayon napakadali mag-issue ng arrest warrant against doon sa mga alam natin na miyembro ng Maute. So, may basis tayo under martial law na puwede natin silang hulihin, (ngayon) napakadaling gawin,” he added. The arrest order was issued by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana. Arrest warrants are issued by courts.

Early this month, Cayamora Maute, father of Maute group leaders Omarkhayam and Abdullah, was intercepted at a Davao City checkpoint, along with four others.

The Philippine Army considers the arrest of Cayamora Maute, believed to be one of the brains of the terror group, a big blow to the militants' operations.

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Their sister was also nabbed on a ship with two suspected terrorists near the Iloilo port Sunday, while 13 suspected Maute militants were arrested in a hospital in Pagadian City.

“Nakakatulong yung martial law talaga dahil you can just imagine yung mga sumibat na mga wounded na Maute members, yung naintercept pa natin hanggang Iloilo,” dela Rosa continued.

Security forces have said they are in control of a large part of Marawi, including roads into and out of the besieged city. The Philippine Navy and the Coast Guard have also announced patrols in the waters between Mindanao and the Visayas.

Both chambers of Congress support military rule in Mindanao, but martial law oppositors have challenged the declaration at the Supreme Court.

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