MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines on Friday allayed public apprehensions about the transfer to Metro Manila of Cayamora Maute, father of the Maute brothers leading the two-week siege of Marawi.
Armed Forces spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said the military has a good basis for moving the elder Maute from Davao, where he was arrested earlier this week. This, even as the terrorist group led by his sons continued to hold out in some reinforced buildings in the once-bustling, progressive city in Lanao del Sur despite a relentless push by ground troops from the Army and Marines, and air strikes targeting their lairs.
Security is better enforced in Metro Manila than Mindanao, which President Duterte placed under martial law on May 24, a day after the Maute-led extremist groups went on a rampage, according to Padilla.
Padilla said it is easier to guard such a high-value prisoner in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.
He added the attention of the military should not be divided between pursuing the extremists in Mindanao while guarding such a high-value prisoner.
Meanwhile, Padilla eased public fears that Metro Manila might be at risk because of the presence of the Maute brothers’ father, adding that layers of security enforcers are guarding the latter.
The AFP is also coordinating with the Indonesian government regarding its earlier claim that there are 1,200 terrorists now in the Philippines. The Indonesians assured Philippine officials of their full cooperation in fghting terrorism, especially in gathering and sharing intelligence.
The AFP, meanwhile, has thus far not yet obtained details of the alleged involvement of certain politicians with the Maute Group, except for the recent arrest of ex-Marawi mayor Fajad Salic, said to be a financier of the group.
For his part, presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said it is up to the Department of Interior and Local Government to study whether the local government unit should bear some liability for the terrorists’ penetration of Marawi City.