Groups dare Robredo to dismantle Sulu militiaPhilippine Daily Inquirer
DAVAO CITY—Civil society groups challenged Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo to dismantle a Sulu militia that the groups said had become a private army of the province’s governor, Abdusakur Tan.
The Free Cocoy Tulawie Movement, named after a human rights activist charged with and jailed for an alleged assassination attempt on Tan, said Robredo should not coddle the Civilian Emergency Force (CEF), a Sulu militia that the group said had become Tan’s private army.
In a text message, Robredo said it was beyond his authority to act on the CEF since it was under the jurisdiction of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
The CEF is composed of former members of the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (Cafgu) that operates in 19 Sulu towns.
Tan had insisted that CEF was legal and helped keep peace in Sulu “while the police and military are busy running after local terrorists.”
In a statement signed by 23 civil society group representatives, the Free Cocoy Tulawie Movement said Robredo must now dismantle Tan’s CEF on the basis of a Supreme Court decision that questioned its legality.
It also called on officials of ARMM to act against the CEF, which they said, was liable for human rights violations in Sulu.
The civil society groups continued to defend Tulawie, former Jolo councilor, and said he was innocent of charges that he was involved in attempts to have Tan killed.
Tulawie, a Tan critic and human rights activist, was arrested last year following bomb explosions that targeted the governor. Germelina Lacorte and Julie Alipala, Inquirer Mindanao