By Francis Wakefield
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Friday expressed belief that slain Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog had links with the Daesh-inspired Maute group who laid siege to Marawi City on May 23, 2017.
In an interview at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City Friday afternoon, AFP Chief of Staff General Eduardo Año said that base on intelligence reports they have received, the slain local chief executive might have even helped fund the Maute group’s occupation of Marawi.
During his visit to the city on Thursday, President Duterte also linked Mayor Parojinog to the crisis in Marawi City.
“Yes, that is a confidential document and the president mentioned the involvement of Parojinog, his linkages with lawless elements and terrorists including the Maute ISIS who are involved in Marawi,” Año said.
“Because the Maute brothers are (also) into drugs operation. Also their style is like cartel,” he said.
When asked for the names of other Central Mindanao local officials and drug lords included in the drug matrix shown by the chief executive, he said one of those is a mayor in Maguindanao currently hiding from authorities.
Año also reiterated that he believes the report because it came from the military itself.
“Yun lang binanggit niya si Parojinog lang. Mahirap namang magbanggit pero iyung isang mayor (Talitay, Maguindanao Mayor Montasir Sabal) nagtatago ngayon kasama din dun sa matrix (He only mentioned Parojinog. It’s difficult to mention but one mayor now hiding is also included in the matrix),” he said.
“The report of the PNP is different. When we tried to dig up everything the information about this and how the Maute ISIS got this enormous money (and) in doing this rebellion part of those funds are from drugs. So we made the study, we analyzed, evaluate and this what came out from the report),” Año said.
Año also did not discount the possibility that the bundles of money and cash worth P79 million which was seized in one of the houses inside Marawi City in June could also come from illegal drugs.
“Possibly and possibly from the loot which they got from the banks and private residences inside Marawi,” he said.
Año, in the same interview, said three more civilian hostages were rescued by government troops following the rescue of Father Rey Teresito “Chito” Soganub and another hostage over the weekend.
He added that based on information coming from Maute surrenderees and those arrested, female hostages by the terror group were raped by their members.
“The female hostages sad to say we received reports from the debriefing of surrenderees and those captured some female hostages were raped by the Maute ISIS,” he said.
Año also said that according to conservative estimates, the AFP has already spent P2 billion for ammunitions and fuel in the war in Marawi which enters its fourth month tomorrow,