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'Drugs funding IS terror'

President Duterte announced this yesterday, saying that besieged Marawi City is a production base for shabu, with those engaged in the illegal drug trade seeking protection from terror groups. Lawyer Maki Datu-Ramos, File

'Drugs funding IS terror'

(The Philippine Star) - May 31, 2017 - 4:00pm

Rody: Writ of habeas corpus may be suspended in Visayas

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Drug money is fueling terrorist activities in the Philippines.

President Duterte announced this yesterday, saying that besieged Marawi City is a production base for shabu, with those engaged in the illegal drug trade seeking protection from terror groups.

Hinayaan kasi natin ang droga (We allowed drugs to proliferate), so there was a time and until now that the terrorism activities in the Philippines are funded and fueled by drug money,” Duterte said in a speech during ceremonies marking the 119th anniversary of the Philippine Navy at Sasa Wharf here yesterday afternoon.

The Chief Executive said that during the first command conference of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP), he specifically warned about the terrorist threat posed particularly by Islamic militants.

“I was referring to the contamination of the ISIS, which was slowly creeping into our shores. And for all, Christians and the Moro, who were into shabu sought sanctuary amongst the terrorists for protection and to ensure the success of their business,” Duterte said, adding that the situation reached a point where even Manila was flooded with the illicit activities and drastic measures were needed to stop the scourge.

“Of course, it would cost lives. You cannot fight a war, especially drugs, without losing your men and the enemy,” he further said. 

Duterte lamented how his government is losing four to five soldiers and policemen every day.

“And in Marawi now, I’m very sad to tell you that we have suffered tremendous losses because we are the invading force and they have been set up there for a long time waiting for the soldiers of the Republic to come,” he said.

“I know that we continue to lose men. I will just have to bite the bullet and fight for our country because this is the only country that we have.”

In his message, Duterte also justified his declaration of martial law and suspension of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao following the attack on Marawi last week, saying he did so upon the recommendation of the military and police leadership after assessing the situation then.

He assured the soldiers of his full support.

“If you would allow me to join you, I’d be happy to lead you to the mouths of hell for after all, we have to die sometime,” Duterte said, as he assured the AFP and the PNP that he would prioritize acquiring modern equipment to help them in their battles.

IS money for lady police officer

The President also revealed details of an ongoing probe on PNP Crime Laboratory deputy regional chief Supt. Maria Cristina Nobleza, who was arrested last April by authorities for trying to rescue her alleged Abu Sayyaf lover, Renierto Dongon, during intensified operations in Bohol before the Holy Week.

Authorities were able to establish a paper trail on Nobleza, he said, and that the policewoman received a huge amount of money purportedly to aid in the terror group’s activities in the South.

 “Nakukuha namin ’yung ipinapadala nila (We were able to get details of what they send) by just examining papers and one of those who were really this recipient of a huge amount was… Nobleza,” Duterte said.

 “She was not only in cahoots but she was an active player in the terrorism business. She’s the one that was apprehended by the military in Bohol when she tried to extricate the remaining Abu Sayyaf who were on the run at that time.”

No talk with terrorists

Meanwhile, Duterte reiterated that he is not talking with terrorists

even if AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla has said that the AFP has allowed backchannel talks for the rescue of Fr. Teresito Suganob, vicar general of the prelature of Marawi and one of those snatched by Maute gunmen during the siege.

“I will not talk to anybody. I will not talk to the terrorists. We will maintain our present dialogue with the MI and MN and the traditional mainliner,” Duterte said, referring to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

Malacañang revealed yesterday that Duterte had talked with leaders of the MILF to help the government in solving the humanitarian crisis due to the Marawi attacks.

Habeas corpus writ suspension eyed in Visayas

As for extending the scope of martial law in case of a spillover of violence from Mindanao, Duterte, in the same speech, changed his tone on the Visayas, saying he may no longer impose military rule on the islands but instead only suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus because of the continuing threat posed by terrorists.

“If there is maybe a transfer of venue from Mindanao to the Visayas and to make it easy for the Philippines to challenge the new engagements, I will be forced to declare the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, not martial law… so that I can arrest you anytime without a warrant,” the President said. – With Alexis Romero

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