Captive priest could be under duress – AFP spokesperson

MANILA –Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Brig, Gen. Restituto Padilla expressed the possibility that the Marawi City vicar general, Father Teresito “Chito” Suganob, was under duress when he appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte for a pullout of troops and a halt in the bombing of the Maute Group terrorists.

Padilla on Wednesday said that he was basing this on the statement of Marawi City Bishop Edwin De La Peña who said the video where Suganob was making his appeal.

He said despite the prelate’s identification of Suganob, they were still having the video authenticated as it could be another propaganda ploy of the terrorists.

“We could not just subscribe to it because (it could be just another) propaganda of the enemy,” he added in Filipino.

Maute Group terrorists were believed to have held Suganob and around 200 others captive since May 23, the day the fighting started.

Padilla also clarified that the Philippine Air Force was not using large bombs in its ongoing operations against the terror group.

He added that the primary aircraft involved in this operation was the SIAI-Marchetti SF-260 attack/trainer aircraft, which is only armed with machineguns and light bombs weighing 110 pounds at the most.

“Air strikes does not automatically mean you will use the largest and most powerful bombs available when there are smaller bombs that can do the job. That’s what we mean by commensurate force against whatever resistance there is in the area. We don’t just bomb a building because there is a sniper on top. It does not work that way,” the AFP spokesperson stressed. PRIAM NEPOMUCENO/PNA –