ISIS won’t stop in Marawi

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The President’s health is always a matter of national concern and interest. It is also an issue of national security, whether the President likes it or not.

Thus, when people did not see Mr. Duterte for almost a week —he even missed Independence Day celebrations—speculation about his health arose.

The excuse was that the President had to take time off because of his brutal schedule. That’s a fact—being president is indeed a stressful, exhausting job.

But whether Mr. Duterte was ill or just resting is not the case. To end all speculation, would it really be so much trouble if Malacañang issued a medical bulletin on the President’s health?

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The Islamic State-inspired siege of Marawi City by the combined Maute Group, Abu Sayyaf, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and other Moro groups is definitely spreading.

In fact, some Maute fighters have already left Marawi City disguised as evacuees. They have reportedly gone to the cities of Iligan, Cagayan de Oro, Cotabato, Zamboanga and even Davao.

Who knows if they have set up camps already in Visayas and even Luzon? Isn’t this the goal of the terrorists—to establish a caliphate in the Philippines, with Isnilon Hapilon as the first emir?

This Friday, June 23, the siege will turn a month old. The government has not liberated Marawi. Military intelligence has attested that the terrorists seem to have endless stocks of arms and ammunition. They also know how to hide from government forces. This only means the Marawi siege had ben planned for some time now.

The question now is whether the Marawi siege has been known by other Muslim rebels. That remains to be seen.

There is also speculation that even if the government liberates Marawi, the terrorists will make their hub in other Mindanao cities.

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If some of the Supreme Court justices are not convinced that the siege of Marawi is not an act of rebellion, they must be naive. They sit in their comfortable air-conditioned chambers without regard for what is actually happening in Mindanao.

Are the justices out of touch with reality?

The fact that the ISIS is already here with foreign jihadists already joining the war is worrisome.

It is so easy to recruit young people from Muslim communities. All they need to do is give arms and some cash to them. This has a lot of appeal, especially among the poverty-stricken.

I believe that martial law in Mindanao should be extended to enable government forces to prevent the ISIS from putting up sleeper cells.

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In my six decades as a journalist, I have heard some of the most ridiculous statements out of the mouths of members of Congress. An example would be “What are we in power for?” uttered by Senator Jose Avelino. The late House Speaker Ramon Mitra said his colleagues would enact legislation if you gave them a piece of toilet paper. He said this in exasperation.

But nothing can compare to Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez’s arrogance. He branded several Court of Appeals justices as idiots, and even said the CA was a mere creation of Congress. Does he think he is above the law?

He also prevailed upon his colleagues to file a petition for disbarment of the three justices, who asked him to release the six employees of the Ilocos Norte provincial government. Is this because his ally, Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas, is having political trouble with the governor, Imee Marcos?

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I am surprised why the government peace panel talking peace with the communist insurgents are still bent on meeting with the National Democratic Front. They know that the communists cannot be trusted. Take for instance that attack on a police station in Maasin, Iloilo.

Communist leader Jose Ma. Sison already said that the NDF can no longer give orders to the NPA because the latter is ruled by new commanders. If this is the case, why continue with the peace talks at all?

Mr. President, you are just wasting time and resources talking to these communists.

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