LETTER REQUEST

President Duterte admits that terrorist leaders have so far escaped the full force of the law despite the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

The Chief executive likewise concedes that only 12 of over 200 individuals ordered arrested have been neutralized or apprehended.

the terrorists also appear to be getting funding from narcotics operations—which has been the target of Duterte’s centerpiece program against drugs.

These are among the details he spelled out in the 7 page letter request to Congress seeking the extension of the martial law declaration till the end of the year.

“the DIWM  (Dawatul Islamiyah Wallyatul Masriq) DAESH (al Dawla al Islamiyah al Iraq wa al Sham or ISIS )  inspired group’s leadership largely remains intact despite the considerable decline in the number of rebels fighting in the main battle area. More over terrorist groups from various parts of Mindanao espousing or sympathizing with the same ideology remain active and are ready to reinforce Isnilon Hapilon’s group or launch diversionary attacks and similar uprisings elsewhere. Key leaders of the rebellion, namely hapilon, the Maute brothers Abdullah, Omarkhayam and Abdulasiz alias Madie, and foreign terrorist Mahmud bin Ahmad remain at large. Despite the arrest of key eprsonalities like Moninta Maute, support structures have been continuously sustained, with the emergence of such new replacements as Adel Sarip Maute alias Monal, who was recently apprehended in Taguig City, Metro Manila.”

Duterte also says that the DIWM DAESH inspired group continues to offer armed resistance in Marawi City and other parts of Western and Central Mindanao. Parts of Marawi City, comprising 4 barangays are still under the control of the rebels. the city’s commercial  districts , where about 800 structures are located, are found within these areas. the rebels have likewise holed up in mosques, madrasahs and hospitals.

the letter also reads, “of the 279 personalities identified and oredered to be arrested by the ML administrator under Arrest Order Nos 1 and 2 dated 29 May 2017 and 05 June 2017, respecteively, only 12 have been either neutralized or arrested. the AFP is further set to recommend the issuance of another arrest order for some 200 other individuals. there are also indications that the DIWM rebels are vigorously recruiting from other lawless armed groups, terrorist elements and their families and supporters, to add to their ranks and replace those who have been killed or arrested.”

Duterte adds that  Other Islamic State inclined armed groups (ASG  AKP or Ansarul Khilafah Philippines And BIFF) which are capable of perpetrating atricities and violent attacks against vulnerable targets, remain scattered in various areas in Mindanao. several reports consistently indicate that these local terrorist groups are pursuing  offensive actions and conspiring to attain their overall objective of establishing a wilayat or caliphate in Mindanao. significantly  videos recovered from a safehouse previously occupied by DIWM rebels validate their intention to establish a wilayat in Marawi City and other areas of Mindanao….”

The President says that  the ASG in particular has been heavily engaging government troops in skirmishes using improvied explosive devices, and has been responsible for ruthless killings of kidnap victims in sulu and basilan. validated reports disclose that hapilon and the Mautes have sent an operational fund to ASG sub leader Furuji Indama in order to launch attacks in Basilan, CDO, Gensan and Zamboanga. Hapilon has also directed the remnants of the AKP to conduct IED bombings in vital areas in Mindanao, including Lanal del Norte.

This as the the BIFF has initiated at least 13 violent incidents since 23, May 2017.

The Commander in chief also notes that  to compound the situation, foreign terrorist fighters and organizations have shown active support for the local rebel groups either by coming to the Philippines as reinforcements to hapilon’s group, like the 20 recently identified Indonesians who actually joined the battle in Marawi City.

The President claims that the  the adjacent regions and provinces serve as possible escape routes for DIWM rebels as well as entry routes for reinforcements and ammunitions.

Mr Duterte says  that as maybe noted, the AFP is still in Phase 2  (i.e clearing of marawi city from local terrorist groups) of Operational Directive 02 2017 while Phase 3, which involves support to the infrastructure development and governance of marawi city, is yet to be initiated.

In the same document, the President also told lawmakers about the progress of operations so far.

From 23 May 2017 to 10 July 2017, the AFP’s operations had neutralized 379 out of the estimated 600 Dawaful Islamiyah Wallyatul Masriq (DIWM) rebels and had recoevered 329 firearms. around 1722 residents of marawi city had been rescued and a total of 16 barangays had been declared clear of DIWM presence. during clearing operations conducted by the AFP, approximately 75M in cash and cheques were recovered from a house in Marawi City/

Operations against other rebel groups likewise yielded positive results. against the BIFF 18 members had been enutralized and 2 had been arrested. against the ASG, 23 had been neutralized, 5 apprehended, 41 surrendered to goevrnment forces and 47 firearms had been recovered.

as the government’s security forces intensified efforts during the implementation of martial law, 111 members of the NPA had been encountered and neutralized, while 85 firearms gad been receovered from them.

in the course of manning checkpints and conducting other law enforcement operations, governent forces had arrested a total of 66 individuals affiliated with DIWM, 50 of whom had been charged.

The law enforcement operations likewise revealed that a drug production facility was discovered in the midst of the rebel stronghold in marawi city, indicating that the rebellion was drawing funding support from illegal drug syndicates. the AFP apprehended 9 individuals, recovered 5 firearms and seized at least 11 kilos of shabu with an estimated street value of 250M.

The president had in the past said he wanted to declare martial law to curb drug trafficking. However it is not among the reasons allowed by the constitution to declare martial law.

There won’t be an advanced securty briefing for congressmen ahead of the special joint session for the extension of martial law which is scheduled for Saturday.

Senators are already getting a briefing ahead of the Saturday session but House Majority Leader Rodolfo Farinas says congressmen won’t get theirs till Saturday. “We will have it during the session when most members will be back in Manila since a considerable number did not expect to be back till the SONA. Thanks!”

Negros Occidental, 3rd District Rep. Alfredo Benitez says lawmakers really aren’t expected back till Saturday.”before saturday? wala nakaready po kami sa saturday katulad ng ginawa dati…sa special session  para po dito sa propsoed extension ng ML katulad ng nangyari last time ng kinonvene kami we met as a committee of the whole doon nagkaroon ng briefing doon nagtanong pagkatapos doon kami nagbotohan kung anong nangyari”

Benitez recalled that when President duterte first declared martial law in Mindanao, lawmakers already got an extensive briefing. “mga senators siguro kailangan nila mas mahaba habang panahon pero doon po briefing whole day po kami buong araw kami nagtatanong i think sufficient namin yung briefing namin this saturday”

Benitez added that congressmen can already see that an extension is needed because the reasons for the original declaration persist. “hindi ako makapagsalita sa senado epro sa sentimeng ng aming mga kasama sa lower hosue karamihan po sa amin sangayon extend dahil sa nakikita nating reports tuloy tuloy ang bakbakan hindi pa tapos most likely pagdating sa lower house papasa po yung extension na hinhingi ng pangulo”

1AngEdukasyon Party List Rep. Salvador Belaro echoed the same sentiment. “i believe that the issue of the continuance of ML has been delimited by the SC ruling…the law of precedents… what ahs been decdied before  unless the facts are changed, will be binding the issue right now is factual  if the same facts that was discovered or caught the attention of the SC still subsists right now then more than ever theres a reason for extending ML the Sc has alreday ruled there’s factual basis for the factual declaration of ML”

Benitez however doesn’t see martial law being declared over other parts of the country. “possibility parating andiyan yan di nawawala yan kaya po tayo nakabantay talaga pero kung dedesisyunan natin kung tama bang ipalawak ang ML sa buong pilipinas nagngamba lang po ako  dahil baka ekonomiya natin ang mabiktima sa ganitong hakbang  yung mga foerign invetsments nakita natin FDI has dramatically been decreasing kung masusugpo lang natin sila panatilihin natin current situttaionsa visayas at luzon mas magandang sitwasyon yun”

Benitez also raises the possibility that the current government budget will be realigned for the rehabilitation of the conflict affected areas. “baka magkaroon ng realignment  dahil hindi po nakapproriate ang mga pera para dito sa rehabilitation dahil di naman natin inaakala na mangyayari pero ang govt every year may tinatawag na savings…etong funds na ito ang pinagiisipan kung saan igagastos o gagamititin para doon sa mga rehabilitation”

On Tuesday,  House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez says the length of the extension of the martial law declaration in Mindanao maybe discussed in an executive session.

The Senate and the House both passed separate resolutions of support for the President’s original declaration after executive sessions with executive officials who justified the original declaration. the original declaration is only valid till Saturday—the 60th day.

Alvarez told DZMM, “Opo, mag-uusap siguro muna kami baka through an executive session, pag-usapan muna kung ilan ba yung sa tingin natin na puwede nating ibigay.”

Alvarez said it will come down to a vote where each senator and congressman only get one vote each.

President Duterte enjoys supermajorities in both chambers of Congress. Alvarez doesnt see any difficulty in obtaining the support of lawmakers, citing surveys that show public support for the declaration.

Makabayan bloc congressmen reiterated their opposition and instead asked the AFP and other executive officials for a briefing on why ML should be extended.

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said a briefing is in order,”yun ang ideal dahil di wpede sa tingin natin na ang pababatayan lang ng extension ay sulay request ng presidente. alam naman natin ang nangyari nung nakaraan..dito gaya ng nasabi na rin igigiit namin pakinggan..kasi review power na ito ng congress.

mangyayari sa saturday di na ito sakop ng poder ng presidente..kaya di pwede na ang magtakda ng anumang dapat na basehan ay anong presente ng AFP”

Zarate however hopes that the briefing will also cover other stakeholders. “dapat gawin din dito. kailangan pakinggan ang mga internally displaced persons. kailangan pakinggan ang traditional leaders at affected communities”

Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao said, “panawagan natin sa hosue leadership both houses walang sagsagaan allow a very comprehensive and substantive deliberation the merits and demrits oof whether or not to extend….or lift on the basis of documented validated data not only coming from the monopolized data from AFP or the 4 implementors ano lorenzana esperon pero binabanggit natin na kung paano tayo gumawa ng batas ganun din being an oversight…wag natin hayaan na lumabas ang mukha o credibilidad ng kongreso na parang sundu sunuran na lamang. walang sagasaan ngayong sabado.”

Casilao further revealed that they will haveprotests outside the Batasan pambansa Complex while Congress is in session. they are alos not ruling out another petition assailing the declaration before the Supreme Court.

ACT Teachers Party List Rep. Antonio Tinio said, “kailangan maging responsable ang kongreso kailangan kunin lahat ng impormasyon”

Tinio earlier said, “ang  darating na sona ay maghuhudyat ng mas malaganap at matinding paglaban sa mga patakaran ng duterte administration..unang una na rito ang panukalang extension ng ML sa mindanao. kung sa ML yung isang araw mga negosyante ng davao mismo nanawagan na wag ituloy o ilift ang Ml sa davao city kasi nakakaapekto sa kanilang negsiyo kahit unang constituent ni pang duterte ay umaaray na”

Makabayan bloc lawmakers maintain that they will hold the president accountable for the effects of martial law in mindanao as well as the performance of his administration this past year during his forthcoming state of the nation address.

Casilao said, “sa kasagsagan po ng deklarasyon ng martial law sa mindanao nangyayari din ang pamamaslang  pampulitikang pamamasalang sa mga lider at aktibong kasapi ng mga progreisbong organisasyon sa hanay ng magsasaka no more etxension ilift soonest possible time ang deklarasyon ng ML wala pong nakikitang substantial na kaibahan at maging ang naging  biktima ng deklarasyon ng  ML ay di directly affiliated  or connected with the principal target which is the maute and ASG “

Casilao says that during the joint session they will present documented cases of abuse as gathered from a fact finding mission last month, in hopes that while they cant prevent the extension, they can argue for a shorter extension instead of till the end of the year.

“wala kaming ilsuyon na magrereverse pero given this continued activities hopefully di aabot sa ganung katagal na extension may mga inexpect tayong major events or turn of events that will convicne the president to lift ML even after congress will grant an extension but definitely di aabot ng dec 2017”

ACT Teachers Party List Rep. France Castro said,  “kaugnay po ng pagpapatupad ng ML kahilingan ng kaguruan na ilift na ang ML sa huling tala ng ating deped  meron na pong 2102 public school teachers ang sa ngayon  dsiplaced 22222 na estudyante, 15 thousand nagtransfer sa ibat ibang eskwelahan”

Kabataan Party List rep. sarah elago said, “wala nang extension daglian nang ilift ang ML sa mindanao imbes na mapuksa at madurog ang maute ang teroristang gawi ng grupo ang nadudurog at natatpakan ay karapatan ng mga sibilyan”

Gabriela Party List Rep. Emmy de Jesus reminded her colleagues to look at the effects of ML in Mindanao. “kung ang balangkas nga nung kaniyang inihahain na extension…ang tingin ko ang maging bottomline sino ba ang nakinabang…ano ang napala ng mamamayan ng marawi…dapat maging ganun ang pamanatayan di interes ng militar”

speaking separately, opposition lawmakers issued similar statements.

Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat posed 3 points to the executive. “1. Has the AFP presented solid and concrete reasons why it needs 5 months to annihilate Maute and IS-aligned terrorist in Marawi? 2. Are both AFP and PNP saying that the terrorist threat has expanded beyond Lanao to include all of Mindanao and that 5 months of Martial Law is needed to control that threat?  3. I still can’t understand what extraordinary powers has ML added to the combative prowess of the AFP in fighting terrorism.”

Akbayan rep. Tom Villarin said in a statement, “It’s a whimsical proposal that has no substantive grounds other than the President’s wishes. From verbalizing 60 days in a dinner with Congressional leaders, now the President wants to make it 5 months. It seems they are not sure when to end martial law nor do they have clear outcomes. It is sending jitters to everyone who don’t want it extended or expanded. “

For Villarin , Clearly Congress needs to put parameters to it as its constitutional mandate for legislative review is now on the table.

Alvarez however told his colleagues to think of what Marawi needs. “At saka dapat isaalang-alang natin dito na, alam mo, kahit matapos yung bakbakan diyan sa Marawi ay hindi nangangahulugan na tapos na yung problema, dahil po tiyak ito ay may resbak din, iyan ang pinangangambahan natin and nakita ko nga, talagang nangangamba, hindi lang sa Mindanao kundi ang buong sambayanan.”

Other lawmakers joined Alvarez, Majority Leader Rodolfo Farinas, former President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo in voicing support for the extension.

Ako Bicol rep. Rodel Batocabe said, “We have to know the factual basis why we need a five- month extension  or a lesser or even longer perid for martial law in mindanao.  While we trust the judgment of the president and the military we can not also shirk from our constitutionally mandate to make a factual determination whther the grounds provided under the Constitution are still subsisting”

Quezon City Rep. Winston “Winnie” Castelo yesterday called on his colleagues to support the extension of President Duterte’s proclamation of martial law in Mindanao in a bid to end the bloody fighting in Marawi City. 

“The Chief Executive needs help to preserve peace in Mindanao,” said Castelo.

“The President needs the consent of Congress for the continuance of martial law in Mindanao to put an end to the lingering rebellion of the Maute terrors group and their allies — and we must support him to ensure public safety and the territorial integrity of the Republic,” Castelo said.

PBA Party List Rep. Jericho Nograles said, “As a Mindanaoan, I will support it. If that’s what it takes to normalize the situation, then so be it. The Constitution allows for an extension of Martial Law, and the 60 days was not enough. What is important is that Congress will remain vigilant in checking for abuses. So far, the President has overwhelming support from the population and we can trust him to do his job.”

While generally supportive, Alvarez however wants to hold the executive accountable for why there is even a need for ML in the first lace. Alvarez was asked about the admission of the military that it misappreciated intelligence information that allowed the maute terrorist groups to develop a stronghold in Marawi.

Alvarez said, “Tama po yun Ted, kailangan tingnan natin ito from all angles ano, unang una yung bakit hindi nakita ito ng mga LGUs, like mga barangay captain, mayors at saka yung ibang mga opisyales. Pangalawa bakit din nakakalusot itong mga foreigners, so Immigration matters po ito, so kailangan nating suportahan din yung ating Immigration at kailangang gumawa sila ng hakbangin upang sa ganon ay mamonitor natin itong pagpasok ng mga dayuhan na hindi naman talaga legitimate yung pakay ano. Tapos dito kinakailangan nating suportahan yung ID system natin at saka sa ngayon kasi Ted, meron nang, may nabanggit si President Duterte na mayroon atang naimbento na computer device dito sa Pilipinas kung saan nakakabasa ng mga email ng iba, ng mga tao.”