Philippine army withdraws martial law recommendation for Sulu

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 31, 2020   •   347

The Philippine Army has withdrawn its recommendation to re-impose martial law in Sulu province after the twin blast incident in Jolo which killed 15 and injured 74 individuals.

Army Chief LtGen. Cirilito Sobejana said they respect the decision of the national leadership as well as the sentiment of the general public.

“I drop my recommendation for martial law declaration over Sulu despite the turmoil as there might be other better options,” he said in a statement.

“I always give due respect to the wisdom of our national leadership and the sentiment of the general public but I felt it appropriate to share with you that the military had displayed utmost professionalism and maturity during our martial law implementation in Sulu when I was the JTF (Joint Task Force) Sulu Commander in 2017,” he added.

Local officials have earlier expressed their opposition to the re-imposition of martial law in Sulu. AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

PH security forces foil bomb plot in Jolo, Sulu

Robie de Guzman   •   September 21, 2020

A bomb plot in the capital town of Jolo in Sulu province believed to have been orchestrated by local terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) was foiled by the Philippine security forces, the military said.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said, this is after the elements of the Philippine Coast Guard-Explosive and Ordnance Division (PCG) discovered a baggage that contained an improvised explosive device allegedly planted at the local port on Saturday.

The military added that a PCG patrol team found the abandoned baggage between the office of the Harbor Master and the Maritime Police Office at Jolo port.

A K9 unit deployed to the area confirmed that the baggage contained a bomb.

Operating troops of the 35th Infantry Battalion immediately cordoned off the area while the bomb squad carefully disarmed the explosive which was assembled using two electric blasting caps, a rifle grenade, a spark plug and concrete nails.

“I commend our troops and our partners for the accomplishment. You saved the lives of the innocent people and foiled this terroristic activity of our heartless enemies,” said Brig. Gen. William Gonzales, commander of the anti-terror Joint Task Force Sulu.

AFP Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr. also commended the troops.

“This success is a result of the intensified conduct of intelligence operations and the strengthened collaboration with the police and other security agencies, thus preempting the terrorists from executing their terror plan. I commend the troops of the JTF Sulu for a job well done,” he said.

The military said tight security measures remain in place as government troops continue to pursue ASG leader Mundi Sawadjaan who was said to the brains of the twin bomb attacks in Barangay Walled City in Jolo barely a month ago that killed 14 people and injured others. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Val Villaflor)

9 cops, 3 officials face administrative charges over Sulu shooting incident

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 7, 2020

Nine police officers are facing administrative charges for their involvement in the shooting of four soldiers in Jolo, Sulu on June 29.

Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief PGen. Camilo Cascolan confirmed on Monday (September 7) that the PNP-Internal Affairs Service (PNP-IAS) has filed administrative charges against the nine cops and their three immediate superiors.

“Summons were served last week to the nine respondents who are presently under restrictive custody by the headquarters support service in Camp Crame,” he said.

Aside from the administrative charges, the nine cops will also face criminal charges for murder and planting of evidence filed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

Cascolan also said the three immediate superiors will face administrative charges “for gross neglect of duty under the doctrine of command responsibility.”

The Philippine Army previously reported that the four soldiers are members of their intelligence unit who are on the hunt for two suicide bombers. They also said the two suicide bombers are those responsible for the twin explosions in Jolo, Sulu on August 24 which killed 15 and injured 74. AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

Mundi Sawadjaan still in Patikul, Sulu —WestMinCom Chief

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 1, 2020

Contrary to previous reports, Armed Forces of the Philippines-Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) chief MGen. Corleto Vinluan said Mundi Sawadjaan is still in Patikul, Sulu.

Sawadjaan, who is believed to be behind the Jolo twin blasts, is allegedly in Central Mindanao as reported by the Zamboanga Police. However, Vinluan said the military encountered Sawadjaan and his group a few days ago in Patikul.

“Nandoon siya sa ano talaga sa Sulu. As of this report, nasa Patikul pa rin siya. Iyon ang hinahabol ng tropa, na-encounter nila parang two days ago yata na-encounter (He is still in Sulu. As of this report, he is still in Patikul. Our troops were hunting him down which led to an encounter two days ago),” Vinluan said.

Vinluan said Sawadjaan and his group are just diverting the focus of security officials and lessen military pressure amid the manhunt operations being conducted against them.

Meanwhile, the Zamboanga police implemented checkpoints as precautionary measures amid terrorist threats in the area while the military continues its manhunt operation for Sawadjaan. -AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

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