Maranao activist: Don’t use Marawi siege to justify anti-terrorism bill
ILIGAN CITY –– A Maranao activist has challenged Sen. Panfilo Lacson to initiate a Senate inquiry on the Marawi siege to ferret out the truth about the incident in 2017 that led to the destruction of the city’s commercial district.
Drieza A. Lininding, chair of the Moro Consensus Group, told the Inquirer that it is “lamentable that Senator Lacson is justifying the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act based on a wrong accounting of events.”
He urged the government to “first lay bare the chronology of events leading up to the Marawi siege” and stop using it to justify the enactment of “a horrific law.”
On Thursday, Lacson told an online forum of the League of Provinces of the Philippines that the Marawi siege could not have happened if the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act that Congress recently passed were already in place at that time.
In a social media post on Friday, Lininding wrote a short open letter to Lacson.
“Bago ‘nyo po gamitin ang 2017 Marawi siege na justification para maipasa ang Anti-Terror Bill, mag-Senate inquiry po muna tayo paano nangyare ang siege. Para malaman mo at ng taong bayan kung makakatulong nga ang Anti-Terror Law,” Lininding said.
He noted that before the Marawi siege, the Islamic State-linked militants have already besieged Butig town in Lanao del Sur, some 52 kilometers away.
The militants’ attacks in Butig began in February 2016 and went on and off for several months.
“Ilang beses nagdeklara ang AFP ng panalo laban sa MG-ISIS (Maute Group-ISIS), pero nangyare pa rin ang Marawi (siege),” Lininding pointed out.
Failure to defend?
He further noted that even President Duterte, in a speech in Lumbayanague town in November 2016, warned of a plan by the Maute Group to lay siege on the city, but the military and police failed to take due account of that.
“Ang Presidente mismo ang unang nagbabala sa plano ng Maute na pasukin ang Marawi December 2016 pa lang. Alam n’yo po ang plano nila, pero noon May 23, 2017?” Lininding said.
“Tanong po namin, ilang sundalo mayroon sa Marawi at ilang pulis ang mayroon? Alam n’yong papasok sila? Pero parang walang paghahanda? Bakit?” he asked.
“Ginamit n’yo kami, mga bahay at ari-arian, at buhay; hanggang ngayon bakwit kami. Hindi pa kayo nagsawa sa paggamit sa amin?”
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