Pangasinan town police chief, officer hurt in hostage ordeal


Pangasinan town police chief, officer hurt in hostage ordeal


By: Gabriel Cardinoza - @inquirerdotnetInquirer Northern Luzon


Image by INQUIRER.net PHOTO

DAGUPAN CITY — The police chief of Mangatarem town and a subordinate were hurt when they tried to subdue a drunk who held his family hostage Tuesday morning.

Chief Insp. Demosthenes Magnaan was wounded in the right arm when he parried a knife thrust by suspect Raymond Bugarin, 28.

Another officer, SPO1 Richard Castillo, suffered a head wound when Bugarin hit him with a lead pipe.

 

Investigator PO3 Jaguar Gonzales said a drunken Bugarin locked himself with his family inside their house in Barangay Bogtong Centro before dawn Tuesday.

Magnaan and Castillo arrived at about 6 a.m. and tried to pacify Bugarin.

While the police official talked to the drunk, Bugarin’s family slipped out of the house through a back door.

Seeing that his family had escaped, Bugarin tried to stab Magnaan.

Castillo jumped the suspect and tried to hold him down but Bugarin swung a lead pipe at him, busting a wound on his head.

Bugarin was subdued by the policemen and now faces charges for double frustrated homicide and for alarm and scandal.

Magnaan suffered a small cut, while Castillo’s wound had to be closed with four stitches. CBB/rga

 

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Ilocos Norte Board declares Fariñas ‘persona non grata’

Board members decry Fariñas' graft probe vs Imee Marcos, 6 officials with pre-determined conclusions


By: Leilanie Adriano - Correspondent / @leiadrianoINQInquirer Northern Luzon

Photo: Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Farinas (INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE )

LAOAG CITY — Members of the Ilocos Norte Provincial Board on Tuesday (June 27) voted to declare Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas “persona non-grata,” or unwelcome in the province he represents in Congress.

Fariñas, who also serves as House Majority Floor Leader, was targeted for initiating an inquiry into the alleged misuse of Ilocos Norte tobacco funds under the administration of his political rival, Gov. Imee Marcos.

Voting in favor of Provincial Resolution No. 2017-06-080 were Board Members Vicentito Lazo, Da Vinci Crisostomo, Mariano Marcos II, Ramon Gaoat, James Paul Nalupta, Donald Nicolas, Paulino Baltazar and Rogelio Balbag.

 

Board Member Matthew Joseph Manotoc, son of Governor Marcos, and Fariñas’ daughter, Board Member Ria Christina Fariñas, were absent during the 45th regular session.

The House committee on good government and public accountability detained six Ilocos Norte provincial officials after holding them in contempt for refusing to answer questions during a hearing in May.

In his sponsorship speech, Lazo described Fariñas as a person of “no moral ascendancy” for filing House Resolution No. 882 which initiated the probe into the alleged misuse of P66.4 million. The amount represents Ilocos Norte’s share in tobacco excise taxes in 2012.

“It is obvious that Fariñas has already arrived at a conclusion when he filed House Resolution No. 882,” Lazo claimed. SFM

 

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President alive, very well, says Malacañang official


By: Philip C. Tubeza - @inquirerdotnetPhilippine Daily Inquirer 

Duterte is 'alive and very well'--PalaceNews
“First and foremost, he’s alive and well. He’s very well. He’s just busy doing what he really needs to do.”

Malacañang on Tuesday sought to downplay widely publicized speculation about President Rodrigo Duterte’s health, sparked by his disappearance for six days — the longest he had vanished from the public eye.

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the President was “very busy” and was “on top of the situation” even though he did not make any public appearance from June 21 until June 26.

 

The President appeared in good shape and spoke extemporaneously during a nationally televised address on Tuesday evening at Malacañang’s Eid al-Fitr celebration marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

“Being out of the public eye, that is when he is really able to do office work. He signs papers. He reads. He consults. He’s actually very busy,” Abella said.

“The thing that is very important to note is that he’s on top of every situation. He is aware of what’s happening. He’s updated regularly,” Abella said.

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“He reads. He views … He listens to this and he is quite aware,” he added.

No public appearance
His absence starting last week was the second time this month that Mr. Duterte has not made any public appearance for days.

The President, who is 72 years old, missed the Independence Day celebrations at Rizal Park in Manila on June 12 and remained out of the public eye until June 16, raising concerns about his health.

At that time, Abella said Mr. Duterte needed “some time off to rejuvenate” after spending 23 days on the road to oversee the implementation of martial law, declared on May 23 in Mindanao, following the siege of Marawi City by Islamic State-inspired militants.

“I’m saying that there is nothing to worry about in terms of sickness, major sickness. Considering the schedule that he has given, he needs to rest,” Abella said.


“He’s just taking some time off to rejuvenate … Tired. He’s just tired. Like I said, he has been on the road for about 23 days,” he said.

Photo releases
On June 16, the Palace released photos of the President working at Bahay Pagbabago in Malacañang and in Villamor Air Base as he was about to leave for Davao for the weekend.

The President then visited wounded government troops in Cagayan de Oro City and Marawi evacuees in Iligan on June 20 and was not seen again in public until Tuesday.

Abella said on June 22 that Mr. Duterte’s rest period was “not yet over,” adding that it was the President’s “work mode” or “style” to do his work out of the public eye for several days.

“And again, you know, this is just his, like we said, working style and it was not meant to cast aspersions upon anybody. But this is the way he works,” Abella said on Tuesday.

Health rumors
Known for his busy schedule and lengthy speeches, often several times a day, Mr. Duterte’s low profile has fueled rumors he is in declining health and that the government is trying to keep that under wraps.

Mr. Duterte’s known ailments include back problems, migraines due to nerve damage after a motorcycle accident and Barrett’s esophagus, which impacts his throat.

He also suffers from Buerger’s disease, caused by his heavy smoking in younger days, which can cause blockages in the blood vessels.

His aides have recently said he has been experiencing fatigue. His closest aide, Christopher “Bong” Go, on June 15 posted images on social media of Mr. Duterte signing documents and standing in front of a television showing a news bulletin, adding further fuel to rumors that something was wrong.

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said Filipinos should not be concerned.

“The public should not worry,” he told dzMM radio. “Our President is healthy.”

 

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Duterte vows to restore Marawi glory


By: Leila B. Salaverria - Reporter / @LeilasINQPhilippine Daily Inquirer 

Photo: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gestures while addressing Filipino Muslim leaders during a reception at the Presidential Palace to celebrate the end of the Holy Month of Ramadan known as Eid al-Fitr in Manila, Philippines Tuesday, June 27, 2017. Duterte promised to rebuild Marawi city as the siege by Muslim militants continues for over a month now.(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday promised to rebuild Marawi and see to it that the city become prosperous again even as he acknowledged that the fight against the terrorists holed up there would be a long one.

Emerging from a six-day absence from the public eye to lead Eid al-Fitr celebrations in Malacañang, Mr. Duterte said he took no pleasure in winning the war and that he was hurting from the destruction and the deaths in Marawi.

“I am not happy that the Maranaos are dying. I am not happy with the hardships you are facing. I see no satisfaction even in winning the war. I just want this thing over, and these radicals and extremists out of the Muslim world,” Mr. Duterte said.

 

He also said he knew there would be a long battle in Marawi when he declared martial law in Mindanao from Moscow last month.

Long fight
“I knew how long it would take for us and I knew the deployment of the snipers and where they kept their arms. I already had the complete picture and I knew that would be a long fight,” Mr. Duterte said.

“But if you ask if I am happy, son of a… I am also bleeding like you,” he added.

Mr. Duterte said he had cousins who joined the Maute, one of the groups that rampaged through Marawi whose leaders had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group in Iraq and Syria.

He vowed to end the conflict and promised to restore Marawi’s glory.

“But one thing I will promise you, my brother Moro, I will see to it that Marawi will rise as a prosperous city again,” he said.

Mr. Duterte has set aside P20 billion to rebuild the city, and said he will allocate more if necessary.

“I will rebuild Marawi because if not, I will remain forever the villain,” he said.

 

Mr. Duterte stressed that his administration was committed to the pursuit of peace.

“[I]t is by dedicating our lives to the betterment of humanity that we can best demonstrate our obedience and devotion to Allah,” he added.

 

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No deal, gov’t tells Maute terrorists

 

Photo: AIRSTRIKE A bomb dropped by a military plane explodes as government troops press their assault on Maute terrorists in Marawi City. —JEOFFREY MAITEM

By: Jeoffrey Maitem, Karlos Manlupig, Philip C. Tubeza, Richel Umel - @inquirerdotnetPhilippine Daily Inquirer

MARAWI CITY — The government on Tuesday rejected an exchange of captives with Islamic State-inspired gunmen holed up in Marawi, as the battle for control of the city entered its sixth week with intense bombing raids by military planes on a shrinking terrorist-held zone.

“It’s not possible. We do not negotiate with terrorists,” Secretary Jesus Dureza, presidential adviser on the peace process, told the Inquirer by phone.

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella reiterated the government’s policy of not dealing with terrorists.

“[The] government’s policy not to negotiate with terrorists remains,” Abella told reporters in Malacañang.

He said the talks on Sunday between Muslim emissaries, including religious leaders, and the Maute terrorists were not sanctioned by the government and the military.

“Any demands made inside therefore hold no basis. Let us remind the public, the gravity of the terrorists and their supporters’ offenses is immense and they must be held accountable for all of their actions,” Abella said.

A source who went into the conflict zone in Marawi with the emissaries to talk with the terrorists told the Inquirer on Monday that Abdullah Maute, one of the leaders of the gunmen holed up in the city, informed the group that Fr. Teresito “Chito” Suganob, the vicar general of Marawi whom they seized as they stormed the city on May 23, was alive and that he was willing to release the priest if the government would free his parents and relatives who had been captured by the authorities.

Dureza said the Mautes’ parents had “to undergo judicial process.”

“If we will give in to their demands, it seems they are also terrorizing us. So negotiations are not possible,” he said.

On June 9, Ominta “Farhana” Maute, the mother of Abdullah and his brother Omarkhayam, was arrested by police in Masiu, Lanao del Sur province.

Two days earlier, the Mautes’ father, Cayamora, and his second wife were arrested at a police-military checkpoint in Davao City.


On June 18, Farida and Al Jadid Romato, cousins of the Mautes, and Abdul Rahman Dimacula, boyfriend of Farida, were arrested in Iloilo City.

The Mautes and the Romatos were covered by Arrest Order No. 1 issued by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana shortly after President Duterte clamped martial law on all of Mindanao to quell the attempt of the Mautes and their allies from the Abu Sayyaf bandit group to establish an enclave for the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group in the southern Philippines.

17 charged
The government has brought charges against 17 people, including the Maute brothers and their parents and former Marawi Mayor Fahad Salic, whose name appeared on checks found by soldiers in a house in the city used as a sniper’s nest by the terrorists, and an alleged bomb maker, Mohammad Noaim Maute.

Among the 17 is 50-year-old nurse Jadzrie Harad Saabdula, who allegedly provided medical help to the terrorists, according to Justice Undersecretary Erickson Balmes.

Bishop Edwin de la Peña of Marawi said the Catholic Church was leaving Suganob’s fate to the government.

“It’s up to the government. It’s the government’s call whether to enter negotiations or not,” De la Peña said on Church-run radio on Tuesday.

The family of Suganob was also leaving his fate to the government and the military.

“We are not in a position to suggest what should be done. We leave it to [the military] and the government what to do,” said Rufino Larroza, Suganob’s uncle.

Lt. Col. Jo-Ar Herrera, spokesperson for the military’s 1st Infantry Division, said on Monday that the priest was seen alive on Sunday in a part of the city still in the hands of the terrorists.

“We don’t have details of his health. We were just told that he was sighted alive,” Herrera told reporters.

The authorities believe Suganob and about 200 other Christians are being held by the Maute and Abu Sayyaf fighters as human shields.

IS allies

The Mautes and Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon have pledged allegiance to the Middle East-based IS, and they have support from foreigners fighting for the jihadist group in their assault on Marawi.

Eight foreign fighters, including those from Chechnya, Indonesia and Malaysia, were killed in the early days of the crisis, according to the military.

More than 360 people—including 270 terrorists, 70 soldiers and policemen, and 27 civilians—have been killed since the fighting began on May 23 when the Mautes and their Abu Sayyaf allies stormed the city.

Regional gov’ts worried

Heavy fighting broke out on Tuesday, with the military launching airstrikes on terrorists’ positions in an area of the city center that had been reduced from 8.7 square kilometers a week ago to just a square kilometer, according to Herrera.

The protracted seizure of the city by the terrorists has worried Southeast Asian governments about the extent of the IS group’s agenda may have gained traction in the southern Philippines, which is used to banditry, piracy and separatism than radical Islamist ideology.

The terrorists’ organization, combat capability and use of heavy weapons has raised fears in the mainly Roman Catholic country that the Marawi fighting could just be the start of a wider campaign, and be portrayed by the Maute group as a triumph that could boost its recruitment.

Fighting has raged in Marawi since May 23 after a failed military attempt to capture Hapilon.

The force of the terrorists’ response surprised the military, leading the government to lose not just Hapilon, but also control of the city. —With reports from Dona Z. Pazzibugan, Julie M. Aurelio, Nestor P. Burgos Jr., and the wires

 

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Government ready to punish those who commit abuses under martial law

By Alexis Romero (philstar.com)

Photo: Armored Personnel Carriers drive to the frontline in the continuing assaults to retake control of some areas of Marawi city Sunday, May 28, 2017 in southern Philippines. Philippine forces launched fresh airstrikes Sunday to drive out militants linked to the Islamic State group after days of fighting left corpses in the streets and hundreds of civilians begging for rescue from a besieged southern city. AP/Bullit Marquez


MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang is ready to prosecute and to punish those who commit abuses under the martial law in Mindanao even as it urged critics to be “considerate” in their judgment of the efforts of security forces on the ground.

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines Lanao del Sur Chapter has claimed that the military rule in Mindanao, which was imposed by President Rodrigo Duterte last May 23 after a series of terrorist attacks in Marawi, has led to abuses like warrantless searches of houses and commercial establishments.

The lawyers’ group said government forces in Mindanao also ransacked and illegally intruded into residential and commercial establishments and disregarded the plain view doctrine in searches and seizures.

According to the group, the military and police disregarded the right against deprivation of property without due process of law, the right to be secure in one's person, house, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures and the privacy of communication and correspondence of innocent civilians.

Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella maintained that the government does not condone any form of abuses or illegal activity.

“We will investigate and if evidence warrants, prosecute and punish all those who committed abuses, especially sexual violence against women,” Abella said in a statement on Saturday.

“The President, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police, and the Department of National Defense Secretary, who is the Mindanao administrator for martial law, do not encourage or tolerate abuses by the military or the police in Mindanao or elsewhere,” he added.

Abella cited a recent statement by the Commission on Human Rights that it has yet to find evidence of abuse in areas under martial law.

“Should there be, proper complaints must be properly filed,” the presidential spokesman said.

Abella appealed to critics to support the government forces’ efforts to secure the areas plagued by terrorists.

“Unless based on fact and evidence, we ask critics and advocates to be more considerate in their judgment of the efforts and context of our soldiers’ challenges and be more supportive of their efforts to protect the Filipino way of life,” he said.

In a press conference in Davao City last Friday, Abella called on critics to “grow up” and to be “more sophisticated.”

“We are actually supposed to be united against a common enemy. And actually, what we are having is, somebody trying to establish a state within a state,” Abella said, referring to the Islamic State.

“That is a clear and present danger. You know, what don’t you get about that? You know, I think it is about time that we really just grew up and became more mature, and became more politically more sophisticated and actually, aside from that, we’re really just more concerned and supportive of one another,” he added.

Abella also clarified that the government is providing enough support to security forces in Marawi after the military launched its “Support our Troops” campaign.

The campaign, which was being led by the Armed Forces Civil Relations Service, involves the selling of statement shirts meant to drum up public support for soldiers in the battlefield.

“The government has provided enough assistance to the families of our fallen soldiers,” Abella said.

“The Support Our Troops Campaign is an initiative of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to boost the morale of our soldiers in the battlefield by showing that fellow Filipinos rally behind Filipino soldiers in fighting the terrorist rebels in Marawi,” he added.

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PCOO supports probe on fake news but...

By Alexis Romero (philstar.com)

Photo: PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar said it is important to distinguish between legitimate media organizations and fake news sites. PPD/File photo

MANILA, Philippines — The Presidential Communications Operations Office is supportive of a congressional probe on the proliferation of fake news but believes that the government should not regulate the media.

PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar said it is important to distinguish between legitimate media organizations and fake news sites that peddle false information.

“The problem with fake news is about determining the fake organizations and the bona fide media organizations. That is what we should do first. Once we identify them, let us look at the cause,” Andanar told radio station dzBB in Filipino on Saturday.

“I support calls in the Senate and Congress to conduct a hearing in aid of legislation on fake news,” he added.

Andanar noted that it is possible that the relaying of inaccurate information was unintentional.

“If it is an inaccurate information from legitimate media organization, perhaps the reason is shortcoming in the workflow and procedure. Definitely, it is not intentional,” he said.

Asked if he thinks a law is needed to curb fake news, Andanar said: “Well, it depends. Of course, it will be crafted by the Senate and Congress. What is important is identify first the fake and the legitimate.”

Andanar, a former news reader for TV5, said the media should remain free from government regulation.

“The media is self-regulated. We are not covered by the PRC (Professional Regulation Commission)…It is just right that we are not covered by PRC. Freedom of expression and freedom of the press should not be regulated by the government,” he added.

Earlier, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, a staunch critic of the Duterte administration, called for an inquiry on the proliferation of fake news in the Internet.

Trillanes filed Senate Resolution no. 259 which aims to look into the spread of false information and the emergence of “social media trolls.” The senator defined trolls as those who deliberately create or foments discord and conflict on social media sites through the posting of controversial and inflammatory messages.

Sen. Joel Villanueva has also filed Senate Bill no. 1492, which aims to impose stiffer fines and penalties on those who produce and peddle fake news. Under the bill, the fines and penalties are stiffer if the purveyor of fake news is a government official.

Some government officials have been accused of being sources of fake news. Earlier this month, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre accused opposition Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Paolo Benigno Aquino IV of meeting with the Lucman and Alonto clans in Marawi weeks before terrorists attacked the city.

The justice chief later on claimed that he was misquoted by the media.

State-run Philippine News Agency recently drew flak for using a wrong photo in a story about the Marawi crisis. The government news agency used a Vietnam War photo from media file repository Wikimedia Commons.

PCOO Assistant Secretary and Duterte administration flamethrower Mocha Uson was also heavily criticized for using a photo of the Honduras police in a social network post urging the public to pray for Filipino troops in Marawi.

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Navy deploys newest war vessel near Marawi

By Roel Pareño (philstar.com) 


Photo: An Indonesian flag flutters from the rear deck of the new Philippine Navy ship named BRP Davao del Sur as it docks at Manila's South Harbor Wednesday, May 10, 2017 in Manila, Philippines. The Philippine Navy welcomed Wednesday the second Indonesian-made amphibious landing dock as part of the military's modernization program. AP/Bullit Marquez

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — The Philippine Navy is deploying its newest landing dock BRP Davao del Sur (LD602) in Cotabato to be used as instrument by military forces in battling the Islamic State-inspired militants in Marawi City, an official said here.

The 404-footer supply and operation ship, constructed by the Indonesian state-owned shipbuilder PT PAL, made a two-day port call in the city. It will also deliver military logistics, supplies for soldiers and relief goods for the displaced civilians of Marawi.

Rear Admiral Rene Medina, commander of Naval Force Western Mindanao (NFWM), visited the ship docked at the Zamboanga port. He said its presence will help secure the coastal water in the Cotabato area while it serves as staging pad of the Augusta Westland attack helicopters.

“Its presence will boost the security in the area,” Medina said.

There were reports that members of the Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups who led the Marawi siege may slip and find its way out of the besieged city, by using the seawaters of Cotabato towards the island provinces.

BRP Davao del Sur had its open house for two days, showing its capability as a landing platform dock. It also gave the opportunity for residents to have a guided tour of the ship.

Captain Richard Gonzaga, BRP Davao del Sur commanding officer, said the ship has its own medical facility where wounded soldiers can receive treatment.

Gonzaga said the Naval Reserve Center and NFWM also conducted recruitment activities aboard ship for interested individuals who wish to join the roster of the Philippine Navy.

Gonzaga said the presence if the LD602 was aimed at promoting peace, developing friendly relations and bringing the Philippine Navy and the Armed Forces of the Philippines closer to the hearts of the people here and Filipinos in general.

BRP Davao del Sur, commissioned in the service of the Philippine Navy last May 31, was the second landing dock after BRP Tarlac (LD-601) was delivered and commissioned on the same month last year.

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Muntinlupa solon seeks court's nod for trip to Italy, Switzerland

By Elizabeth Marcelo (philstar.com) |

Photo: A hold departure order was issued against Muntinlupa City Rep. Rozzano Rufino “Ruffy” Biazon in connection with his cases of graft, malversation of public funds and direct bribery over his alleged involvement in the pork barrel fund scam. Philstar.com/File photo

MANILA, Philippines — Muntinlupa City Rep. Rozzano Rufino “Ruffy” Biazon has asked permission of the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan to allow him to leave the country next month to join his fellow congressmen in an official visit to Italy and Switzerland.

In his four-page motion filed before the court's Seventh Division, Biazon through his lawyer, said he and the members of the House of Representative committee on foreign affairs are set to visit the electronic passport production sites in Milan, Italy and in Zurich, Switzerland from July 7 to July 16.

Biazon said the members of the House panel are also set to visit the consular sections of the Philippine Embassies in Milan and Zurich to observe the implementation process of the e-passport system.

Biazon said their scheduled visit is in relation to the House committee's deliberation on pending bills that seek to extend the validity of Philippine passport to ten years from the current five years.

“Being a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, as well as the duly elected representative of the lone district of Muntinlupa, accused would want to be informed and be educated on the salient and security features of the ePassport System to enable him to actively participate and protect the concerns and interest of his constituents during deliberations...as regards the amendments to the 1996 Passport Law,” Biazon's motion read.

After the official visit, Biazon said he wishes to extend his trip for another three days or until July 20 for a personal tour with his wife in the scenic places of Switzerland.”

Biazon assured the court that “no government funds will be spent for the official travel” while expenses for he and his wife's personal tour will be shouldered by him.

Biazon also maintained that he is not a flight risk.

“He is incumbent representative of the Lone District of Muntinlupa, his family are staying here in the Philippines and he has no reason to abscond,” Biazon said in his motion.

It was in May 2016 when the Seventh Division issued a hold departure order against Biazon to prevent him from leaving the country unless there is a prior written approval from the court.

The HDO was issued in connection with his cases of graft, malversation of public funds and direct bribery over his alleged involvement in the pork barrel fund scam.

Biazon is accused of allocating P3 million of his Priority Development Assistance Fund or pork barrel in 2007 to one of the fake foundations linked with the alleged pork scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles in exchange for P1.950 million worth of kickbacks.

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P10-M shabu in ex-Marawi mayor’s house affirms narco terrorism — Palace

By Alexis Romero (philstar.com) |

Photo: Government troops on Friday recovered two kilos of shabu worth P10 million from a house owned by the former mayor of Marawi City. Philstar.com/John Unson/File photo

MANILA, Philippines — The recovery of P10 million worth of shabu in the house of former Marawi mayor Omar Solitario Ali affirmed the link between the ongoing crisis in the city and illegal drugs, Malacañang said on Saturday.

Security forces seized two kilos of shabu worth P10 million from a house of Ali while conducting clearing operations in battle ravaged Marawi City last Friday. Authorities are convinced that the house was used by the Maute terrorists as a safe house.

“This development will hopefully bring to bear the realities existing in the area about the close relation between the illegal drug trade and this ongoing rebellion,” Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement.

Ali is one of the persons in the arrest order issued by the Defense department after President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao last May 23. He was also one of the politicians accused by Duterte of having ties with the illegal drugs trade.

Ali’s brother Fajad Salic, also a former mayor of Marawi, has been charged with rebellion for allegedly supporting the Maute terrorists that occupied Marawi City last month.

Duterte has repeatedly claimed that money from illegal drugs is funding the terrorist activity in Mindanao.

“Drugs fueled martial law…And it’s because of the drug money, they were funding the terrorism. It’s part of rebellion,” he said in a speech in Tacurong City last June 7.

In a report on martial law that he submitted to Congress, the president said the Maute militants have ties to foreign armed groups and are benefitting from illegal drug money.

“Reports abound that foreign-based terrorist groups, the ISIS in particular, as well as illegal drug money, provide financial and logistical support to the Maute group,” Duterte said in the report.

“Considering the network and alliance-building activities among terrorist groups, local criminals, and lawless armed men, the siege of Marawi City is a vital cog in attaining their longstanding goal: Absolute control over the entirety of Mindanao,” he added.

In a speech before military troops in Sulu last May 29, Duterte said Mindanao has been a "hotbed" of shabu as some politicians have made a fortune out of the illegal drug.

"(It) actually started with drugs. And they were producing drugs halfway, not really for business but to fund the terrorism," he said.

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