Sotto backs idea of martial law in ASG-infested areas in Mindanao

MANILA — Senator Vicente Sotto III on Wednesday said he supports the proposal to declare martial law in certain parts of Mindanao particularly in the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG)-infested areas.

”I have no objection to military rule in the areas of the Abu Sayyaf,” Sotto said during the weekly Kapihan sa Senado media forum.

Sotto made this reaction after incoming Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Ronald ‘Bato’ dela Rosa supported the idea to address the problems of terrorism and insurgency in Mindanao.

Sotto called the ASG bandits coward for beheading their second Canadian hostage after Robert Hall’s failed to pay PHP600 million ransom.

”It’s an act of cowardice. Matatapang lang sila kasi sila may baril. Wala ako bilib sa pumapatay ng tao na nakatali. I condemned it,” Sotto said.

Sotto believed that incoming President Rodrigo Duterte has already plans on how to stop the atrocities of the Abu Sayyaf, considered as terrorist group operating in the southern part of the Philippines.

”I have met and known Duterte since 1988. What I can say is palagay ko, he believes in the saying that I believe in also which is ‘Run silent, run deep,” Sotto warned.

Sotto, the only senator with perfect attendance in the last 16th Congress, also believed the Philippine Army is just waiting for the go signal from the Commander in Chief to go all-out war against the ASG bandits

”Ang Philippine Army which is under the Armed Forces of the Philippines ay naghihintay lang ng pagkakataon na bigyan ng go signal. That’s according to Senators Panfilo Lacson and Gringo Honasan,” Sotto said.

Lacson was a former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief while Honasan was a former military colonel and one of the military figures in the popular 1986 People’s Power Revolution.

Sotto also supported the national policy of the government not pay ransom to any kidnap-for-ransom groups like the ASG.

”Paying ransom is an act of negotiation. We should not negotiate with the terrorist group as provided in the international law,” Sotto said. Jelly Musico/PNA/