Alarming evidence

By: Editorial June 07,2017 - 08:43 PM

A video clip and the discovery of P79 million in cash and checks from a house in Marawi City may bolster the Duterte administration’s position to extend its martial law over Mindanao at the Supreme Court.

The discovery of the cash by the marines would help counter the argument posed by the Maute terrorist group and disprove suspicions of those critical of the martial law declaration that the military had been looting the homes of the families that fled to Cebu and neighboring areas in Lanao province to escape the ongoing escalation of violence in Marawi City.

The P79 million in cash and checks would also raise concerns about who and where the Maute Group secure their funding from. President Rodrigo Duterte’s claim that the Maute terrorist group have entrenched themselves by acting as the protectors of rival political families there as well as securing drug money appears to have sound basis if one were to base it on that sizeable cash discovery.

The Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) is said to be verifying the identities of those who issued the checks, but the military’s theory that it came from the terror group Islamic State (IS) looks to be a possibility.

Just as equally compelling is the video clip taken from a cell phone discovered by the military during one of their raids. The Associated Press (AP) was allowed to air the video showing the leaders of the Maute Group with their IS contacts mapping out their plans for the Marawi City siege.

It has yet to be verified if one of the leaders, IS Southeast Asia leader Isnilon Hapilon, was still alive after the video had been taken since he was reportedly injured during one of the air strikes in Marawi City.

But the video that showed them planning the siege, including their willingness to take hostages, burn cathedrals and seize a national highway to strike fear among the residents, all came to pass and would prove to be valuable evidence to support the government’s position that martial law should be extended beyond the 60-day limit to ensure that the Maute Group’s presence had been wiped clean from Marawi City, if it is at all possible.

That possibility remains dim amid the military’s admission that a lot of Maute members have fled and blended in with the refugees who moved to other parts of the country including Cebu.

Which is why a proposal by Councilor Dave Tumulak to conduct profiling of the Marawi City refugees, while debatable and considered discriminatory by rights groups, should merit extensive discussion from the City Council.

Having shown their capability to hold off the military for at least two weeks in Marawi City, the people of Cebu are expected to be extra vigilant in guarding and protecting themselves from the Maute Group’s presence.

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TAGS: court, Duterte, evidence, Marawi City, martial law, Maute, Mindanao, Muslim, peace, Supreme Court

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