- President Aquino revealed considering declaring martial law in Sulu to fight the Abu Sayyaf Group
- Aquino dropped the idea as it may bring more harm than good
- Aquino shared the release of the 2 remaining hostages are still being negotiated
President Benigno Aquino III admitted on Wednesday, June 15, that he considered declaring martial law in Sulu in order to apprehend the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) who were holding foreign and Filipino hostages.
In a news briefing at Camp Teodulfo Bautista, according to an article published by Inquirer, the President said he looked into the possibility of declaring martial rule in Sulu three weeks ago as part of the government’s intensified efforts to rescue the remaining hostages, before the June 13 deadline set by the ASG.
“We have been chasing them but we would always miss the opportunity. There were instances when we would overrun their harboring areas—the food is still hot and the cigarette appeared to have just been lit—but still they were able to escape,” said Aquino.
The idea came as the deadline draws near and some sectors suggested for president-elect Rodrigo Duterte to be given emergency power and handle the issue in Mindanao.
However, Aquino decided against it because he reckoned such drastic measure will only be counterproductive and may lead to more undesirable consequences, as per an article published by Manila Bulletin.
“There’s an assessment that we need to use a substantial number of forces just to implement martial law here which would not guarantee positive results,” he said.
He added that declaring martial law may drive more people to support, sympathize and join the bandit group.
Last June 13, the ASG beheaded Robert Hall after the ransom demand was not met.
The group was demanding P600 million for Hall and two other hostages – Filipina Marites Flor and Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad.
Both Philippine and Canadian governments maintained a ‘no ransom’ stance.
Aquino shared that a private group is negotiating for the release of the 2 remaining hostages.