MANILA — Following President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s declaration of the liberation of Marawi, Malacañang on Saturday assured the Filipino public that the government would continue to be on guard against any remaining terrorist in the area.
In a statement aired over Radio Pilipinas, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella stressed that the start of the military pullout in Marawi does not signal the end of fighting between government troops and stragglers of the Maute terrorist group.
“While enemy force has greatly diminished, we will continue to be alert and assure the residents of the city that we will not compromise its security with the presence of some units of the Armed Forces,” Abella said.
The Palace official guaranteed that the government would not drop its guard for possible threats coming from the remaining network of the ISIS-inspired terror group, which may still be operating while the rehabilitation of Marawi is ongoing.
Meanwhile, the Palace also announced that authorities have put closure on the death of Michael Siaron, a suspected drug personality whose photo created a buzz after it was compared to the Pieta image.
Abella said ballistics examination from a recovered firearm revealed that Siaron was killed by a member of a syndicate also involved in the illegal drug trade.
According to Abella, this report verifies the government’s claim from the start that many drug-related killings in the country were actually perpetrated by those involved in drug operations, as drug traffickers and pushers try to eliminate each other.
“The relentless attribution of such killings to police operations was both premature and unfair to law-abiding enforcement officers who risk life and limb to stop the proliferation of illegal drugs in our society,” the official noted.
“Government assures the public and the families of victims of deaths under investigation that authorities will pursue cases until the truly guilty are brought before the bar of justice,” he added.