By Charissa Luci-Atienza
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, during yesterday’s the joint session of Congress on the proposed extension of martial law and suspension of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao confirmed that 180 terrorists are still at large.
Lorenzana answered in the affirmative after Lanao del Norte Rep. Mohamad Khalid Dimaporo sought confirmation that 180 terrorists remain at large.
“We are still looking for them,” Lorenzana told the joint session, attended by 264 members of Congress.
Dimaporo expressed concern that the terrorists might be hiding in other regions, including Visayas and the National Capital Region (NCR).
“There is a possibility that these 180 terrorists are not in Mindanao, so if the objective is to get rid the country of terrorists and we have the advantage of suspension of write of habeas corpus in the region of Mindanao. What will happen? Tumatago sila sa Cebu City, Visayas region, Metro Manila, Luzon region. How can we achieve our objective?” he said.
Lorenzana said warrants of arrest have been issued against the terrorists, which means that they can be arrested anywhere in the country.
“All of these people have warrants of arrest so wherever they are, they can be arrested,” he said.
Dimaporo also commended the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for its campaign against loose firearms.
“I’d like to acknowledge our AFP, and commend them for your accomplishment in Mindanao. You have accomplished something that the PNP had difficulty to win and that is campaign against loose firearms,” he said.
“With the declaration martial law, the AFP and PNP have been given the support needed from the national government so that we can get all the loose firearms,” he said.