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AFP: No officers in cahoots with ASG

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) strongly denied reports that some military officers in Sulu are in cahoots with the Abu Sayyaf and warned to hold a local official who made the accusation accountable if he can not prove his claims.

Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, AFP spokesman, also said that such accusation could undermine government efforts against the militant group, which continue to hold two foreign and five local hostages in Sulu.

“Our armed forces and police have been at the forefront of the fight against all kidnap for ransom groups and the ASG for a long time. We have lost so many servicemen in the process. We do not doubt the dedication and commitment of our troops,” said Padilla, AFP in a text message to Manila Bulletin.

He stressed that AFP commanders on the ground are in full control of their troops and are focused on the primary mission of getting these criminals and saving the hostages.

The AFP issued the statement after reports quoted Jolo, Sulu mayor Hussin Amin as saying that some military officers are supporting the ASG and are getting a share of the ransom paid to the bandit group.

“The accusation can undermine government efforts against these criminals and we will hold the one who released the statement accountable if they can’t substantiate their allegations,” said Padilla.

According to the AFP spokesman, the military has an established system to ensure that there are no spies and traitors are in their ranks. (ELENA ABEN)