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AFP mulls raps vs groups involved in Marawi siege

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is mulling the possibility of taking legal action against groups linked to the attack in Marawi City, military spokesman Major Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr. said yesterday. AP/Bullit Marquez, File

MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is mulling the possibility of taking legal action against groups linked to the attack in Marawi City, military spokesman Major Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr. said yesterday.

During the regular Mindanao Hour briefing at Malacañang yesterday, Padilla also assured the public that the AFP will never be involved in any destabilization plot against President Duterte.

He said the people can trust the Armed Forces to do what is right within their mandate in the Constitution.

Padilla explained that the military is conducting a “thorough research on these people because it may be possible that they had been part or accessory to the rebellion.”

“These groups that we have been watching closely have exhibited indications that since the very beginning of the Marawi crisis, they may have been partial to the terrorists or the rebels in the areas,” he said. 

Padilla was commenting on reports that some groups are planning to file charges against the AFP for its offensive operations in Marawi.

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“The reason I mentioned that is because of statements that have been recently said, and threats to file cases against the Armed Forces. And I’d just like to inform the public that these groups have been, from the very beginning, observed as being partial to the side of the rebels,” Padilla said.

The AFP is digging deeper into the participation of these groups in the rebellion.

“And this is indicative of deeper and much more thorough information that we are now looking for that may, in all probability, link these groups to the destabilization occurring in the area,” Padilla added.

Padilla invoked that “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.”

Padilla expressed confidence that the Marawi crisis would end before the Philippines hosts the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit this November.

He said the AFP will not declare an end of hostilities until the last terrorist offering resistance has been dealt with months after the Maute group attacked Marawi last May 23.

Once the fight against the Maute terrorists is over, Padilla said 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 planted by the terrorists.

Meanwhile, Padilla said that 17 hostages were recently rescued by the AFP, 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.

Padilla added that the military is grateful to the President for his announcement that Filipino soldiers will get higher salaries by next year.

Padilla noted that the alleged destabilization efforts would fail because “we have a commander-in-chief who has malasakit for every soldier and is keeping his end of the bargain of taking care of every uniformed man doing his job.”

Chief Supt. Reuben Theodore Sindac, director of Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao police, said six policemen have died while 61 others were wounded in the fighting in Marawi City since May 23. 

He said that Police Officer 1 Mohaimin Nato has remained missing since the hostilities started in Marawi. – With John Unson

 

             

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