Philippine army withdraws martial law recommendation for Sulu

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 31, 2020   •   532

The Philippine Army has withdrawn its recommendation to re-impose martial law in Sulu province after the twin blast incident in Jolo which killed 15 and injured 74 individuals.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

AFP traces Abu Sayyaf hideout in Sulu, 4 members surrender

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 8, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has traced one of the hideouts of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Sulu.

AFP Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) said their 2nd Special Forces Battalion found one of ASG’s hideouts on Sunday (February 7) in Barangay Danag, Patikul while conducting combat operation.

Meanwhile, four more ASG members surrendered and turned over firearms to the 6th Special Forces Battalion in Sulu on Sunday. They are apart from the 17 ASG members that surrendered in January.

In 2020, almost 100 terrorist members surrendered to the authorities.

The AFP continues to conduct hot pursuit operations against around 70 ASG members operating under ASG leader Radullan Sahiron in Sulu. AAC (with reports from Val Villaflor)

Parts of Zamboanga City, Jolo town flooded due to heavy rains

Robie de Guzman   •   January 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Heavy rains due to a low pressure area (LPA) spotted in the vicinity of Western Mindanao have resulted in flooding in parts of Zamboanga City and Jolo town proper in Sulu.

Floodwater due to rains that poured overnight since Sunday until before dawn on Monday affected many residents in Barangays Talisayan, Patalon, and Ayala.

Local authorities said the floodwaters reached knee-deep in some areas in the city and affected around 200 families. High-value crops and rice fields in the said areas were also affected.

The City’s Emergency Response Teams have been deployed to monitor the situation, and to evacuate, when necessary, residents in coastal barangays amid the weather disturbance.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) reported it has assisted in the evacuation of residents in Jolo, Sulu affected by the flooding in Barangays Asturias, Tulay, Hadju Butu, Chinese Pier, Serrantes, Takut-Takut, and Alat.

Photos posted by the PCG on its Facebook page show knee-deep floods and residents wading on water holding onto ropes held by rescuers.

No casualties were reported.

The state weather agency on Monday said the LPA was estimated at 90 kilometers southeast of Zamboanga City, embedded along the intertropical convergence zone.

The weather bureau warned that the combined effects of the weather disturbance will bring moderate to heavy rains in some parts of Mindanao and may cause flashfloods and landslides in areas prone to these hazards. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Val Villaflor)

AFP dismayed over the release of nine cops involved in Jolo shooting

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines has expressed dismay after the Philippine National Police released the nine cops involved in the shooting of four army men in Jolo, Sulu.

In a statement, AFP Spokesperson Major General Edgard Arevalo said that AFP Chief General Gilbert Gapay lamented the decision to release the involved cops and the lack of arrest warrants despite the charges filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

“It is only unfortunate that despite the DOJ’s filing online of a multiple murder case before the Regional Trial Court in Jolo last 04 January 2021, no Warrants of Arrest have been issued by the court,” he said.

The nine cops are facing multiple murder charges in the Regional Trial Court in Jolo after the DOJ found probable cause for an indictment.

On Monday (January 11), PNP Chief Police General Debold Sinas announced that they have turned over the nine cops to the lawyers and their relatives since the national police no longer have the authority to detain them. Sinas also announced that the nine cops had been dismissed from police service.

Na-release na kasi walang warrant of arrest na binigay samin. We have coordinated with the DOJ at saka sa lahat hanggang ngayon wala po. So, ayaw po namin na ma charge kami ng arbitrary detention at tsaka pinirmahan ko pong dismissal ay implementable na po iyon. We turn them over to their relatives and lawyers (They have been released because there is no warrant of arrest. We have coordinated with the DOJ and until now, now warrant was issued. So we don’t want to be charged with arbitrary detention and I already signed the dismissal, it is already implementable. We turn them over to their relatives and lawyers), Sinas said. AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

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