SENATOR Vicente Sotto 3rd believes that President-elect Rodrigo Duterte can eradicate the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) if he will give all-out support to the military to carry out its operations against the bandits.
Sotto on Wednesday said all the military and police need is a leader who will give them the signal to annihilate the group and also the resources to mount their operations.
Duterte is yet to issue a statement on the recent beheading of Canadian Robert Hall by the jihadists but Sotto said this does not mean that the Davao City mayor is not doing something or thinking about his next move.
“I have met and have known Mayor Duterte since 1988. What I can say is I think we believe in the same saying, which is ‘Run silent, run deep’,” the senator said.
He added that the Abu Sayyaf bandits should fear Duterte because he can crush the terror group.
“Magtago na sila [They better hide],” Sotto said referring to the ASG members.
Incoming presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo on Tuesday said Hall’s beheading is a problem of the Aquino administration because Duterte cannot act on it yet.
He added that the beheading of Hall was a “taunt to the present administration,” not to Duterte’s leadership.
But newspaper reports quoting a supposed spokesman for the terrorist group said the beheading was meant to embarrass Duterte.
Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th cited the need to put pressure on the government to halt operations of the rebel group.
“You cannot prosper as a nation while these things [executions]are being reported in global media. They are thinking that it is happening in every nook and cranny in the Philippines,” Trillanes said.
What is needed is for the government to increase the capability of the Armed Forces of the Philippines whose members are spread very thinly, he added.
Trillanes said the current strength of the military is not enough to address all security threats in the country, including the ASG.
“We need to recruit at least 20,000 soldiers devoted only for security threats,” the senator added.