THE attack launched by members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), loyal to Nur Misuari, in Zamboanga City clearly exposed the inability of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to prevent internal threats despite of having hefty intelligence fund, the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) said on Tuesday.
Rep. Toby Tiangco, secretary general of the UNA questioned what he considered a massive failure of intelligence on the part of the DILG and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to prevent, if not detect the planned MNLF in Zamboanga.
“Is the DILG going through an intelligence crisis? There were already indications and leads that members of the MNLF were being mobilized. Either the DILG and PNP failed to correctly assess the information, or the DILG’s height of negligence,” Tiango stressed.
More than 300-armed MNLF men attacked Zamboanga City killing at least six people and wounding several others early Monday morning. The rebel group also held hostage several civilians using them as human shields.
The UNA official is wondering how could a group of rebels managed to carry out the attack on a highly urbanized city like Zamboanga without being detected by the police.
Tiangco also pointed out the latest Zamboanga incident is not the first time that the DILG and the PNP were caught flatfooted, in fact, law enforcement agencies were not able anticipate Cagayan de Oro bombing on July 26, North Cotabato on July 31, and in Cotabato City on August 5.
“Given the many security lapses that happened under their noses, the Zamboanga attack once again exposes the DILG’s inability to abate internal threats,” he added.
Senator Antonio Trillanes on the other hand said that intelligence operatives were able to monitor the movements of the MNLF as far back as last month.
Trillanes, chair of the Senate committee on national defense said that he received information the intelligence operative are aware of the movement however they cannot apprehend the MNLF members because of the existence peace pact with the group.
The senator was referring to the 1996 peace accord signed by the government and the MNLF headed by Misuari.
“Since we have standing peace pact with them (MILF), they cannot be apprehended,” Trillanes added.
The DILG is asking for P360 million for its intelligence fund more than P100 million higher than he intelligence fund of the Department of Defense (DND) which is at P246 million. JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA