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Palace backs AFP on drive vs Sayyaf

Malacañang yesterday stood by the integrity, honesty, and dedication of the Armed Forces of the Philippines amid the allegations of Jolo, Sulu Mayor Hussin Amin that some military officers are allegedly conniving with the Abu Sayyaf Group for ransom money.

Amin had called on the national government to conduct a loyalty check among the military officers and to investigate the possible connivance between some military officers and the ASG.

Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said it is a serious allegation and is unfair to the Armed Forces who have been working so hard in their pursuit operations against the ASG.

Medyo mabigat yata ‘yung paratang na nakapaloob diyan. Paano naman kung basta-basta na lang natin tatanggapin ‘yan.

Ang sagot agad natin imbestigasyon. Hindi naman yata makatwiran,” Coloma said.

“Nakikita naman natin na isinasagawa ng pamahaalaan ang nararapat at nag-uukol tayo ng puspusang pagsisikap sa pagtugon sa problema,” he said.

Coloma said it is unfair to cast doubt on the operations of the Armed Forces against the Abu Sayyaf. “Parang binabawasan ‘yung halaga ‘nong puspusang pagsisikap ng ating mga magigiting na sundalo na inuukol ‘yung kanilang husay sa pagtatanggol sa seguridad ng ating bansa,” he said.

Coloma also noted that a statement from the AFP denied the allegation of the Jolo Mayor.

“Our Armed Forces and police have been at the forefront at the fight against all kidnap-for-ransom groups and the Abu Sayyaf Group for a long time. We have lost so many servicemen in the process. We do not doubt the dedication and commitment of our troops,” the AFP statement said.

“In addition, commanders on the ground are in full control of our troops and are focused on their primary mission of getting these criminals and saving the hostages,” the AFP added.

“There is also an established system to ensure no spies and traitors are in our ranks. There also exist strong measures to deal with those who have found to have violated their oath. 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,” it said.

The AFP likewise pointed out that local government officials are at the lead in addressing peace and order in their community with the police and the AFP as partners. (Madel S. Namit)