SENATOR Ferdinand Marcos Jr., on Thursday condemned the beheading of a Malaysian hostage by Al-Qaeda linked Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and called for the military and police to mount an all-out offensive against the renegade group.
Marcos viewed the savage murder of the foreign hostage a slap on the face of Philippine authorities as it was done at the time when Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak is in the country to attend the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).
Marcos was referring to the beheading of Bernard Then Te Fen who was kidnapped by ASG last May in Sabah, Malaysia along with Thien Nyuk Fun.
Thien was released last week after a ransom was reportedly paid.
While the government already condemned the savage killing of the hostage, Marcos said the country should come up with more concrete actions in order to regain from the embarrassment bought by the ASG’s barbaric acts.
“Condemnation of this dastardly act won’t be enough. The only way we can recover from this black eye is for our military and police to bring these criminals to justice the soonest possible time,” he added.
The senator believes that the military and police are capable of neutralizing the group behind the acts of kidnapping, beheadings, extortion and bomb attacks in Southern Philippines.
Marcos earlier called on military and Police intelligence units to intensify its monitoring operations on the activities of armed groups in the country following the reported attempts of ISIS to form an official faction in Southeast Asia.
Marcos also cited the reports of the Strait Times saying militants aim to bring together to the fold of ISIS terror groups in Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines including the Jemaah Islamiah and the Abu Sayyaf.
The report tagged former University Malaya lecturer Dr. Mahmud Ahmad as leading the effort to form a regional ISIS faction in Southeast Asia, assisted by his cohorts Mohd Najib Husen and Muhammad Joraimee Awang Raimee.
Marcos said intelligence officials should continue their intelligence gathering efforts including the exchange of information with their counterparts in the region to strengthen the network of defense against terrorist plots.
Waiting for forensic results
While Razak has confirmed on Wednesday that a Malaysian man held for months by the ASG had been executed, the PNP would not officially declare that he was indeed one of the hostages, until forensic tests said so.
“Pending official scientific findings, at this point we cannot conclusively establish the identity of these human remains to preclude undue speculation and inaccuracy in reporting,” PNP spokesman Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor said on Thursday.
He added that police forensic investigators are conducting further tests to identify the severed head and headless body found in separate locations in Sulu on Tuesday and Wednesday.
On Tuesday, police security forces in Jolo recovered an abandoned package along Marina St., Barangay Walled City, with markings Bernard Then Ted Fen, containing an unidentified severed human head. The following day a headless body was recovered in Barangay Kagay, Indanan, Sulu.
Both human remains are now being examined by the Crime Laboratory of Police Regional Office-ARMM for identification, said Mayor but could not give definite date as to the duration of the forensic tests.
On Wednesday, Razak condemned the hostage’s beheading calling it a “savage and barbaric”.
“I, the government, and all Malaysians are shocked and sickened by the murder of our countryman Bernard Then, and we condemn it in the strongest terms,” the prime minister said in a statement on his Facebook page.
The ASG is still holding several foreign hostages, including two Canadians, a Norwegian, an Italian and Filipinos kidnapped from other places and brought to Sulu.
WITH REPORTS FROM AL JACINTO