Evidence sought in claims of AFP collaborating with Abu Sayyaf

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Malacañang branded as unfair and baseless the claim that some members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have conspired with the Abu Sayyaf in several kidnappings in Mindanao, saying the accusation is not new.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the allegation of Jolo, Sulu Mayor Hussin Amin is a serious one and could undermine the government’s campaign against the bandits.

“Such allegations are unfair to members of the military who are putting their lives on the line to maintain peace and order and ensure that everyone is safe against terrorist organizations like the Abu Sayyaf,” said Coloma.

Coloma said the context of the allegation must be understood because of its repercussions on the military and the ongoing offensive in Sulu.

He also cited a recent statement from the AFP that the military does not doubt the dedication and commitment of its members who are going after the Abu Sayyaf.

“In addition, commanders on the ground are in full control of our troops and are focused on their primary mission of getting these criminals and saving the hostages,” Coloma said, quoting the AFP.

The AFP leadership said there is also an established system to ensure that there are no spies and traitors in their ranks.

“There also exist strong measures to deal with those who are found to have violated their oath,” it further stated.

According to the military, must be substantiated.

It said local government officials lead in addressing peace and order in their community with the police and the AFP as partners. This cooperation and partnership is the cornerstone in coming up with a permanent solution to this perennial problem of lawlessness in their communities.

“Local officials should also draw socio-economic plans to help citizens and prevent them from supporting the Abu Sayyaf bandits who share part of the ransom with their supporters,” the AFP said.

There were similar allegations in previous ransom kidnapping cases involving Abu Sayyaf, when a congressional investigation was launched after the raid on the Dos Palmas island resort in Palawan. No AFP officer was indicted in the case.

Other reports in the past have raised suspicion about the collusion of local government officials in Sulu and Basilan in ransom kidnappings. (SWCA)

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