De Lima seeks Senate probe into gov't 'failure' vs Abu Sayyaf
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Leila de Lima on Wednesday, March 8, called for a Senate investigation of the failure of the Duterte administration to end the notorious Abu Sayyaf Group and other lawless groups in Mindanao.
De Lima filed Senate Resolution 311 urging the committee on national defense and security to look into the government’s inability to neutralize terrorist groups, after President Rodrigo Duterte himself admitted failing to run after the Abu Sayyaf.
Upon assuming office last year, Duterte ordered the AFP to wipe out the ASG in 6 months. The order was followed by the deployment of at least 8,000 soldiers to Sulu, base of the kidnap gang. But this has not discouraged them from abducting hostages and killing them. (READ: AFP chief vows to 'decimate' Abu Sayyaf in 3 months)
“Congress should investigate what legislative measures may be passed in order to address the factors that may have contributed as to why government forces have not yet succeeded in neutralizing the [Abu Sayyaf],” De Lima said.
When she was justice chief, De Lima filed an application before the Regional Trial Court of Basilan to declare the Abu Sayyaf as a terrorist organization – a petition granted in September 2015.
“Congress should also ensure that measures are in place to maintain government functions in Mindanao despite challenging situations,” she said in the resolution.
The Department of National Defense said the group is still holding 31 hostages, which include, 12 Vietnamese, 7 Indonesians, 5 Malaysians, a Dutchman and 6 Filipinos. – Rappler.com