Mindanao Hour Briefing by Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella with Armed Forces of the Philippines Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr.,  National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Director Oscar David Albayalde, and Government of the Philippines Peace Implementing Panel Chairperson Irene Morada Santiago
Press Briefing Room, New Executive Building, Malacañang
02 June 2017

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Good morning. This morning we are joined by three resource speakers: AFP spokesperson Restituto Padilla; NCRPO Director Oscar Albayalde; and the chairperson for the Bangsamoro Peace Process Ms. Irene Santiago who flew in for this.

Before we ask them to share, let me just — and also before we open the floor to questions and answers, I just like to make a short statement regarding the Resorts World incident.

Initial findings of police investigation of the Resorts World incident this morning, 2nd of June 2017, [Friday] show that there are no indications of terrorist activity.

All indications point to a criminal act by an apparently emotionally disturbed individual. Although the perpetrator gave warning shots, there apparently was no indication that he wanted to harm or shoot anyone.
The 34 deceased all died due to suffocation at the second floor gaming area which had been set on fire by the perpetrator who eventually committed suicide in the fifth floor of the Maxim[s] Hotel where he set himself on fire and then shot himself.

The only other individual who sustained a gunshot wound was the security guard who accidentally shot himself.

Having said so, we also do not find any direct link to terrorist activities in Marawi.

The situation in Marawi is no longer considered a law enforcement situation but a matter of national security. And this includes taking care of the process with the MI, MN, pursuing the peace talks with CNN, which will be addressed with undistracted force the AFP, PNP elements should they refuse to pursue the talks; and also, fourthly pursuing development of Mindanao.

I’d like now to refer to General Padilla to be able to give us more updates on the matter.

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Good noon everyone and at this point I’d like to provide the latest updates from military operations that are conducted in Marawi.

As of 6 p.m. yesterday, the number of civilians who have been killed by terrorists still remains at 19. The reports remain for validation and until such time that these are validated accordingly, we cannot include them.

Civilians rescued in the ongoing operations have also increased to 1,024. The number of enemy killed confirmed by body count is at 30 with — 90 I mean, and 30 more confirmed by eye witness accounts, bringing it to a total of 120.

There are still unofficial reports that are trickling in that have not been included in this number.

Recovered firearms 98, most of which have been high-powered firearms as was seen by members of the media a few days ago.

For our casualty count, [can we have the casualty count, please] the number of soldiers that have been killed have swelled to 36 because of the friendly fire incident the other day.

I have yet to receive the number of wounded for this report.

The current focus of operation of our military forces remains to be the clearing of Marawi from armed elements that have still holed up in the area; the continued rescue operations for trapped residents; the continued recovery of civilian victims and potential casualties who have been victimized from atrocities from the armed elements; and the continued assistance that we can provide to the LGUs, the NGOs, CSOs who are conducting white helmet or relief operations.

The enemy continues to occupy commercial buildings as their defensible enemy lairs and this is the subject of military action being conducted from the past few days until now.

Compounding the situation on the ground is the use of these forces, these armed elements of children and civilians as human shields.

Apart from that, they have also been turning into the madrasahs as staging areas and the mosque as sniper nest thereby hoping to limit the movement of our forces and their capability to neutralize them.

We continue to apply commensurate military power on these existing threats and pockets of resistance and will continue to do so including the use of airstrike.

Continued efforts also is being exerted in our collaboration and coordination with other concerned agencies to ascertain the status of victims whose families continue to ask for assistance on their whereabouts, as well as those of the hostages that are known to us.

Finally, we continue to call on the remaining terrorists to consider their position, surrender or experience the dark consequence of military action.

That is all I have for now. Thank you very much.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Before we proceed with the question and answer, we’d like to refer now to Ms. Inday Santiago regarding the peace corridor.

CHAIRPERSON SANTIAGO: Good noon. On Monday this week, President Duterte approved the creation of a peace corridor, a safe and secure corridor for women, men, and children fleeing the crisis in Marawi, as well as a reliable space for humanitarian assistance to pass through.

The peace corridor is being jointly implemented by the implementing panels of the government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

It is a testament to have far the Bangsamoro peace processes come and the partnership that has been established between the government and the MILF.

On behalf of Secretary Jesus Dureza, I am pleased to announce today the peace corridor has been set up by a composite team of the AFP, PNP, and MILF who are as we speak travelling from Malabang to Marawi to set up the Joint Coordinating, Monitoring, and Assistance Center or JCMAC.

There will be two centers: one in Marawi and one in Malabang and a mobile center plying the corridor.

More than 300 trained members of the joint peace and security teams are being deployed throughout the length of the corridor and will be augmented as the need arises.

The government and the MILF peace panels are supervising the peace corridor.

On the part of government, we have designated Assistant Secretary Dickson Hermoso, a retired colonel of the Philippine Army, who has been a pioneer in setting up this effective ceasefire mechanism tried and tested for more than 12 years now.

The JCMAC will be cooperating with the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao or ARMM, which is tasked with delivering humanitarian assistance in these areas.
The ceasefire agreement remains in effect to this day and the ceasefire mechanisms are in place and working to prevent any armed conflict between the two parties.

Under the ceasefire agreement, prohibited hostile acts are: terroristic acts such as kidnapping, hijacking, piracy, sabotage, arson, bombings, grenade-throwing, robberies, liquidation, assassinations, unjustified arrests, torture, unreasonable search and seizure, summary execution, as well as burning of houses, places of worships, and educational institutions, destruction of properties and abuse of civilians.

Also prohibited are aggressive actions such as attacks, raids, ambuscades, land mining, and offensive military actions.

Under prohibited provocative acts, on the other hand, include providing sanctuary or assistance to criminal or lawless elements.

The ceasefire agreement states that the MILF does not condone and, in fact, rejects all kinds of terroristic — terrorist acts.

It has also committed to not providing sanctuary or assistance to terrorists and other lawless elements.

The fact that no major violations have been reported in the last three years is a testament to the effectiveness of the ceasefire mechanism.

It is significant to point out that Malabang is considered the oldest settlement in mainland Mindanao. Malabang comes from the Maranao word “mala,” meaning “big” and “bang,” meaning “call to prayer.”

It was where the Arab missionary Shariff Kabunsuan arrived in the 14thcentury to Islamize the people of mainland Mindanao.

Malabang is also known in history as a place that resisted conquest from the Spanish to the Americans, to the Japanese.

At the Monday meeting, President Duterte assured the MILF and the Bangsamoro people that he will honor all signed peace agreements and implement the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, starting with the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

Today, I am pleased to report that the Bangsamoro Transition Commission is holding plenary sessions in Davao to finalize the draft law, which will be submitted to the President by mid-June.

The peace corridor is a manifestation of the shared vision of government and the MILF of what our society should look like. One that is open, inclusive, compassionate, just, and cooperative.

This is the complete opposite of the kind of society the terrorists want in Marawi –  a closed, isolationist, violent, ruthless society ruled by fear, with total disregard for human life and the integrity of our government and our diverse Philippine society.

The peace corridor is more than a safe passage for people and goods. In working jointly to deal with this humanitarian crisis, the government and the MILF are also building a major corridor to peace. Thank you. 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Thank you. Before we proceed with the Q & A, we would like to call on Police Director Oscar Albayalde. 

DIR. ALBAYALDE: Yes, sir. Let me just give an update on the Resorts World incident this morning, where the victims who suffered suffocation already went up to 36 plus one, the perpetrator. So that makes the body count to 37 already, sir. 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Before we proceed with the Q & A, let’s enjoin everybody and the entire nation to please pause for a few moments and remember the — remember in thought, in intention, in prayer those who have died in Marawi and those also the unfortunate victims in Resorts World.

Thank you. We now refer to Rocky. 

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Before the first question is asked, I’d like to make a clarification. Yesterday, we reported that we lost 11 good men in a friendly fire incident. We stand corrected and the figures of the Secretary of National Defense was correct. It was only 10 whom we lost in that unfortunate incident.  

The single, the other killed in action that we had in that figure was one of our men who died in an encounter with the enemy shortly after the incident. Thank you. 


Maricel Halili (TV-5): Hi, good morning. Sir, Director Albayalde, with regards po doon sa Resorts World incident, may we know ano po ‘yung possible motivation ng suspect if it’s not — if hindi siya related sa terrorism? 

DIR. ALBAYALDE: Well, actually the motivation, we really could not tell the motive of the perpetrator ‘no pero apparently, he is mentally disturbed ‘no at nakita naman natin, that’s why we could not relate it to… We cannot relate it to terrorism is because he did not shot — he did not shot anybody ‘no. Wala siyang sinaktan doon, wala siyang binaril. He just went inside, he burned the gaming tables ‘no at pinagbabaril niya is the doorknob of the storage where the chips were kept and he stole 113 million worth of casino chips. 

Ms. Halili: So possible robbery angle, sir? 

DIR. ALBAYALDE: Well, it could not be robbery because he could not be able to spend those chips and he wouldn’t be able to exchange those chips into cash ‘no or into pesos. 

Ms. Halili: As to the identity of the suspect, sir, meron na po ba? 

DIR. ALBAYALDE: Sa ngayon, wala pa. What we only identified is the owner of the car that he used so that is now under police operation, fina-follow up ng ating police operatives. 

Ms. Halili: Pero possible po na foreigner?

DIR. ALBAYALDE: Well, he looks Caucasian, he talks in English and he is big and he is white. So ang assumption ng mga tao doon, he speaks in English so probably he’s a foreigner.

Leila Salaverria (Philippine Daily Inquirer): For Director Albayalde. Sir, what’s your current assessment of the security situation in Metro Manila following this incident in Resorts World?

DIR. ALBAYALDE: Well, generally Metro Manila we enjoy peace and order ‘no. Maganda ‘yung prevailing peace and order dito sa Metro Manila. There’s no… We have not monitored any threat on terrorism dito sa Metro Manila.

And while wala naman tayong namomonitor na threat ‘no, hindi naman din talaga tayo pwede mag-relax ‘no.

Our intelligence community is in constant monitoring of the possible na mga threat groups who could be possibly here in Metro Manila, although wala tayong namomonitor na ganon.

Ms. Salaverria: So we’re not on red alert or high alert? 

DIR. ALBAYALDE: The Philippine National Police is on full alert, not the public. It’s the Philippine National Police, especially the NCRPO. We did not downgrade our alert status since after the Davao bombing incident last year.

Kasi sunud-sunod ‘yung major events dito sa National Capital Region. Remember, meron tayong Translacion then the Miss Universe, and then ‘yung 30th ASEAN Summit. 

Ms. Salaverria: Sir, ito lang. May mga nag-a-arise kasing speculations that this incident might ano, might lead to the declaration of martial law in Metro Manila. Sir, on the part of the police, wala naman kayong recommendation to — for the suspension of the privilege of habeas corpus or — ? 

DIR. ALBAYALDE: Ah wala po. We did not recommend anything on that issue, especially to the President ‘no. It’s only the President who can decide on that.

Ms. Salaverria: To Spokesperson Abella, sir, may command conference kahapon. Did the President give any directives as to the situation in Metro Manila?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: I don’t have the specific update regarding that. But there was just full discussion. He was simply apprised about the current situation in Mindanao. Okay, thank you.

Anjo Almario (CNN Philippines): Good afternoon, sir. Sir, how sure are we that this guy acted alone? May kumakalat, sir, na video na merong dalawa sila doon. Well, apparently it’s fake, it’s from 2014. Can you once and for all clarify that? 

DIR. ALBAYALDE: Yes, this person acted alone ‘no. He was alone from the start until end, from the first time that he entered the establishment or ‘yung Resorts World ‘no, ‘yung pintuan ng Resorts World, he was already alone.

He left his car inside the car park at pagpasok niya, he was already hanging his baby Armalite sa — dito sa shoulder niya ‘no. And merong security doon, probably internal security lang doon, it’s because hindi naman siya talaga security guard, babae pa. So nakita niya.

When he approached him… When she approached the guy, nakita niya ‘yung firearms at doon pa lang, na-rattle na siya so tumakbo na siya. Then she was seen by the public na nandoon so that created panic already ‘no and stampede. That caused now the minor injuries nung mga 54 na tao doon.

So because of that panic, merong mga nasugatan, merong napilay, all minor injuries.

Mr. Almario: Sir, may nakikita ba kayong lapses sa security ng hotel why in the first place nakapasok ‘yung baby Armalite pati ‘yung one liter of gas?

DIR. ALBAYALDE: Tinitingnan natin ngayon ‘yan ‘no. I think the hotel management will also strengthen their security on that after this incident.

Tuesday Niu (DZBB): Sir, hi, sir. To Director Albayalde. Sir, ‘yung mga fatality, saan po sila nakita? Ipon-ipon ba sila sa isang lugar o kalat-kalat sila ‘nong nakita po doon sa loob ng hotel?

DIR. ALBAYALDE: Practically, doon sa gaming area, doon sa casino, doon sa gaming area sila lahat nakuha. Doon sa gaming area, none on the rooms. Wala doon sa mga rooms. Kasi nailabas — nakalabas lahat nung mga occupants nung mga rooms.

Ms. Niu: So pwede nating sabihin, sir, na hindi na sila pinalabas doon nung suspek kaya hindi na sila nakatakas pa o nakalabas anywhere else?

DIR. ALBAYALDE: That’s not probably what happened ‘no. Kasi itong suspect, he was all over. In fact, he was all over. Nandoon lang siya, doon sa stairwell, nagpahinga siya doon sa stairwell. We’ve been… He was monitored through CCTV. Kaya alam natin siya na nag-iisa.

In fact, we have pictures there, we have CCTV footages of him ‘no. Hindi naman niya binantayan ‘yung mga tao doon eh. What caused their death possibly is because of the thick smoke.

Kasi mabilis ‘yung ano… It’s because carpet ‘yung ano eh, carpeted ‘yung room na ‘yun. And, of course, ‘yung table, highly combustible ‘yung mga ‘yun.

Ms. Niu: Last, on my part, sir. Ito po bang suspect, na-establish na po ba natin kung siya po ba parokyano o occupant ng isa sa mga rooms ng mga hotel? Dahil papaano po siya nakapasok doon sa room 510 ng wala siyang susi? O ni-ransack po ba niya ‘yung doorknob nung room at nakapasok siya sa loob?

DIR. ALBAYALDE: We have not talked with the chief security yet kung talagang ‘yung tao na ‘yun, he frequents that place ‘no.

With regards to your question paano siya nakapasok, binabaril niya ‘yung doorknob, binabaril niya ‘yung doorknob nung mga kwarto para mabuksan niya.

Deo De Guzman (RMN): Good morning, sir. Sir, sinasabi niyo po kanina nag-iisa lang po siya and closely monitoring po through CCTV. So kung namo-monitor po siya bakit po parang tumagal pa ‘yung insidente, kung namo-monitor naman po itong nag-iisa na perpetrator na ito?

DIR. ALBAYALDE:  Yes, we ran after him. Remember, kaya hindi siya nakalabas doon, it’s because there were already — we were already there, few minutes after the Resorts World management called for police assistance ‘no, kaya hindi siya nakababa. 

There was even a very short encounter between him and the responders na PNP. So he went up at the third floor and then he went up to the fifth floor. 

Nagsunog siya ulit ng carpet so that it will be covered by thick smoke again tsaka para walang makita doon sa CCTV. Doon na nawala ‘yung kung nasaan siya.

So we went… We cleared the hotel room by room, we started on the fifth floor. 

But when we went up to the fifth floor, he went down to the second floor, and he even burned another BMW car there. So when we went up to the sixth floor, he went back to the fifth floor. Doon na siya nandoon sa room 510.

Mr. De Guzman: With regards naman po doon sa security ng hotel, may baril po ba itong mga ito? Para po kasing kulang sa training, kulang sa paghahanda. Maraming kakulangan po ‘yung kanilang security?

DIR. ALBAYALDE: During that time, wala tayong nakitang firearms na hawak nung internal security doon. 

Mr. De Guzman: Thank you, sir. 

Vic Somintac (DZEC): Sir, just a follow up kay General Albayalde, doon sa — ‘di ba sabi niyo nga naka-heightened alert na kayo matagal na dito sa NCR? ‘Di ba dapat may mga police personnel sa mga private establishment? At that time ‘nong mag-commence ‘yung ginawa nung suspect, meron bang available na pulis na nandoon mismo sa Resorts World?

DIR. ALBAYALDE: Yes, we even have a PCP there. Remember doon sa mga clusters of hotels, we have PCPs kaya mabilis ‘yung responde kaninang madaling araw.

We have PCPs there, just like in the Solaire area, meron tayong PCP diyan.

Mr. Somintac: Iyong pagbitbit niya ng long firearms, bakit nahayaan pa siya na nakapag-kwan, hindi kaagad narespondehan?

DIR. ALBAYALDE: Well, unang una, natataranta na ‘yung ano doon eh, ‘yung security ng hotel. Siya mismo, pagkakita pa lang niya, tumakbo na, instead of calling immediately for assistance.

Nag-scamper ‘yung mga tao dun eh, including the security who is a female.

Mr. Somintac: So sa ngayon, magrerekomenda ba ang NCRPO na kailangan magkaroon ng close coordination with the PNP personnel and the private security of the private establishment?

DIR. ALBAYALDE: Actually, we were directed by the Chief PNP to coordinate with all the security officers of all the resorts and hotels in Metro Manila. And we’re going to do that.

Mr. Somintac: Thank you, sir.

Hannah Sancho (Sonshine Radio): Sir, good morning, sir. Sir, na-mention kasi doon sa mga tweets na na-monitor, especially kami sa media namo-monitor naming, ‘nong early nangyari ‘yung incident, ‘nong simula pa lang, hindi lamang ‘yung media ang na-alarm, kung ‘di ‘yung international community din pati na rin ‘yung gising pa at that time. May nag-tweet na, na kino-confirm na ISIS. So do you have… Clarified kanina po na hindi nga ito terror attack at walang relasyon ang ISIS. Do you have any message po doon sa nagti-tweet na nakakaalarma? At nag-remind pa ‘yung Twitter huwag maniwala sa mga tweet na hindi nagmumula sa mga media entities.

DIR. ALBAYALDE: When I was called, when I was called upon na meron ngang insidenteng ganyan, unang-una, sinabi din nila ‘yan that there’s ISIS. Ang lumalabas when the people scampered ‘no, ‘nong nag-panic sila, they were somewhat, shouting, “ISIS, ISIS, ISIS!”  Parang ganon ang nangyari.

Q: Sinong sumusigaw, sir?

DIR. ALBAYALDE: Iyong mga tao… Iyong mga tao na nagtatakbo. They always assume na ‘pag may mga ganon, it’s always ISIS ‘no.

So ‘yung ang pinapakiusapan nating mga kababayan ‘no, huwag silang ma-alarma. Huwag silang palaging i-relate ‘yung anything that is violent to any terror attack or to any terror group for that matter.

Pia Gutierrez (ABS-CBN): Sir, could you tell us exactly how the gunman died? Kasi may mga conflicting statements coming from earlier interviews kanina na saying na police ang nakapatay and he shot himself. Tapos before burning himself alive. Paano po ba talaga, sir?

DIR. ALBAYALDE: Most probably, although wala pa tayong SOCO report ‘no, meron siyang gunshot wound sa head. So… And he was really burned.

So nakikita natin dito, binuhusan niya ‘yung sarili niya ng gas. He covered himself with a blanket, at saka may mga foams dun, and he ignited himself. And then he shot himself. Binaril niya bago masunog totally ‘yung katawan niya.

Ms. Gutierrez: Tama ba, sir, the police discovered patay na siya?

DIR. ALBAYALDE: He’s already dead, yes.

Rida Reyes (GMA): Sir, konting ano lang po doon sa timeline. Anong oras po ninyo natanggap ‘yung tawag? Tapos, sir, kasi nag-deploy kayo ng battalion doon mismo. Meron bang information na isa lang tao or marami sila?

DIR. ALBAYALDE: Around 12. Past 12, short… Siguro mga 12:10 siguro 12:05  ganon ‘no. Past midnight ‘yun. So we were there around mga 12:15.

And I was really very near dahil sa Bicutan lang ako. So it took me only around five, 10 minutes to be there.

And kasi ang initial report kasi it’s ‘yun nga ‘no, it’s a terror attack. So I called reinforcement from the Special Action Force and halos kasabay ko din silang dumating doon. Mabilis ‘yung reaksyon din nila. And we want to thank them also.

And, of course, ‘yung ating RPSB together with the SWAT from Pasay. So ganon. Hindi naman kami that kadami, pero enough ‘yung aming personnel na nandoon kaninang madaling araw.

Ms. Reyes: Sir, going back to the security measures, do we expect mga taga-Manila, tightened security talaga, like additional checkpoints or augmentation po of additional personnel?

DIR. ALBAYALDE: Yes, we’ve already tightened our security measures dito sa Metro Manila since after the Marawi incident, since the start of the Marawi incident ‘no.

All over Metro Manila, we have activated our checkpoint operations, we intensified our Oplan Sita. And all other target-hardening measures. 

And, of course, ‘yung ating presence sa mga places of convergence and ‘yung  pagbabantay ng mga vital installations. And we have augmentation coming from the Joint Task Force NCR of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. 

Rocky Ignacio (PTV): Okay, let me ask this question from FB Presidential Comm for General Padilla. From Aldrich Ignacio, why is the military not — basahin ko na lang, sir, ha. “Why is the military not doing forced evacuation just like when there are typhoons? It will be easier for our troops to identify who the sympathizers and are which obviously, allegedly are all over Marawi?”

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Well, first of all, forced evacuation is done if you know an approaching typhoon. We can predict it and we can plan and prepare for it.

In the case of Marawi, this erupted right there and then after we tried to make and effect an arrest together with our police counterparts.

So it was an emergency that evolve through the days since more than a week ago and it is not such like a preparation that can be done during a typhoon but we are doing that right now that’s why we made a call on all the trapped residents and gave them a procedure on how to come out so that we can assist them faster and safer.

Ms. Halili: General Padilla, sir, I understand ngayon po ‘yung deadline for the operations supposedly kakayanin po ba ng military? Kamusta na po ba ‘yung operation natin in Marawi?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: As I mentioned in previous updates, if I can clearly recall ‘no, deadlines are relative to the amount of resistance that still exists and the threat in the area.

It was a deadline that was set forth and provided by the Secretary of National Defense so we can aim for it. But the final decision actually rests on the ground commander.

And based on the report that we’re getting I don’t think we can meet that deadline today to completely — I’d like to qualify that — to completely free Marawi of every single armed element in every street.

So that’s what we’re trying to do that is the first military objective that we want to achieve to free Marawi of any armed element that still exists today.

So until such time that every member of this armed group, this rebellious group that still wants to make a stand inside Marawi exists, we cannot totally say we have cleared Marawi.  

But we are working and we are doing our best to do and accomplish this mission immediately.

Ms. Halili: How about, sir, ‘yung update po kay Isnilon Hapilon? Alam po ba natin yun kanyang whereabouts kasi meron pong lumalabas na info na baka raw nakatakas na doon sa area?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Yes, that information came out but there are much more information that says and indicates he’s still there.

Ms. Halili: So tukoy naman, sir?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Yeah, nandoon pa po siguro at pasensya na kayo hindi ko po pwedeng i-discuss.

Rosalie Coz (UNTV): Hi, Sir Padilla, good afternoon po. Sir, may natatanggap po ba tayong intelligence reports na mga diversionary tactics ng mga kalaban ng pamahalaan since yesterday President Duterte mentioned that ISIS ‘yon pong pag-attack sa Marawi matagal ng plano so is there a possibility na maging ang mga supporters ay meron na po ba dito sa Metro Manila supporters ng ISIS, sir?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: There have been attempts already alam naman po natin ‘yung pag-atake sa kampo ng pulis natin sa may Maguindanao, sa mga nagiging pag-atake sa mga detachment natin sa iba’t ibang lugar, pati na ‘yung mga ibang armadong grupo nakikihalo na rin.

These and all comprise the diversionary activities that are being conducted by sympathetic groups. We are ready for it. We are not…

We’re aware of it and we are ready for it and we have been able to thwart any of these attempts. In fact, many operations are being conducted right now in other areas that we still have focused military operation.

One such place is Sulu. So tuluy-tuloy pa rin dito at madami tayong nagiging successes. The other day lang, we were able to neutralize two more ASG members, if I get the numbers right, and effect the arrest of one more.

So this comprises all our activities to preempt any kind of diversionary activities of armed elements.

Ms. Coz: Pwede po ba nating sabihin particularly na walang ISIS supporters sa Metro Manila?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: As the police NCRPO Chief said, we have not monitored any and we are sharing information continuously on this.

We guarantee and we assure our citizens in the National Capital Region that all your security forces are continuously working to ensure that we are free and safe from any kind of these threats.

Ms. Coz: Sa part po ng government ISIS claim po doon sa attack. Sinasabi nila na sila ‘yung may kagagawan and then even US President Donald Trump nag-mention din siya ng terror attack nauna pa po siyang mag-react, sir, from the government so?

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: People who are interested in propagating their own position will take advantage of any opportunity to do so.

However, as has been proven, this particular situation in Manila is not in any way directly linked to terrorist attack.

So we have to approach this thing in a very sober manner and the… Well, regarding the tweets coming from abroad, I think we should listen to our own people first.

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Rose, may I just add to the Secretary’s comment that generally a lot of quarters over react to situations like these especially now that we are having all this events in Mindanao following the declaration of martial law and the eruption of hostilities in Marawi.

Our recommendation and our advised to the public is first be discerning of what you get from social media and find out whether it has basis to — there is basis to believe that news.

Second, is to ensure that you compare this with your surroundings and whatever events are happening because you — for all you know naka — if nandiyan lang po kayo sa mga tahanan niyo, nakatuon lang ang pansin niyo sa television pero hindi niyo nalalaman ‘yung nangyayari sa kapaligiran niyo eh normal na normal.

So come out and crosscheck is what we want point out. And at the same time, do not pass on any of this news that may be fake so that we don’t unduly alarm our community.

That is actually what’s happening here, we’re overreacting. We should not overreact. We should be calm, we should be rational, we should be logical whenever there are events like these.

And that is what we highly recommend and, at the same time, recommend our communities to start doing and propagating.

Tina Mendez (Philippine Star): Hi, sir, good morning. To Chief NCRPO, may we know if there were foreigners who were in the fatalities?

DIR. ALBAYALDE: The identities are yet to be ascertained ‘no. I think the SOCO are still conducting ‘yung ano ‘yung investigation doon sa area kaya ‘yung body count pa lang ang nabibigay nilang feedback sa atin ‘yung identities wala pa tayo ‘non.

Ms. Mendez: As such, sir, how assure are we that the suspect that you were saying was really the gunman who entered the Resorts World?

DIR. ALBAYALDE: Yes, he was him. I even have a picture of him dito ‘no.

That’s why I had told you based doon sa CCTV footages tiningnan natin, pagpasok niya until the end mag-isa lang siya. And he was identified and all over ‘yung from one place to another, from one corner to another iisa at siya at siyang naglalakad doon sa Resorts World na ‘yon.

Ms. Mendez: Sir, based on your description, sir, earlier it seems that the person knew where to park his car, how to use the stairs going up and down from first floor to fifth floor and the… Is that just a profile of a regular criminal?

DIR. ALBAYALDE: well, it’s not far-fetched na he’s frequenting that casino ‘no kasi most probably sabi nga, he is mentally disturbed. Baka talunan ito sa casino eh, talunan ito sa casino.

And we don’t want to also ‘yung possible motivation is ‘yung robbery dahil kinuha niya ‘yung worth 113 million na — worth na casino chips eh. But the only thing is hindi mo pwedeng ipapalit ‘yon, hindi mo rin magamit ‘yon ‘no.

So and iniwan niya ‘yun when he was being pursued. Iniwan niya ‘yon doon sa kubeta kaya we were able to recover that.

At ‘yung Resorts World naman it’s a very common place ‘no. Meron siyang sariling parking. It’s like going to SM mall. Parang pumunta ka lang sa SM doon eh. Meron siyang sariling parking. After you park your car, you get inside the mall. Ganon lang kasimple kasi ‘yun eh.  

Ms. Mendez: Sir, ‘yun pong mga namatay, ano po sa second floor lang po sila? Were they sprawled all around? 

DIR. ALBAYALDE: Yes, they were all over doon sa ano — doon sa casino area. 

Ms. Mendez: Sir, ano po bang ginamit na pangpa-ignite sa carpet? Kasi if I recall it right, ‘yung Resorts World malawak ‘yun eh — 


Ms. Mendez: It can accommodate hundreds of people or casino-goers. 

DIR. ALBAYALDE: He used… He was bringing with him a gasoline na nasa two liters na bottle of Coke ‘no. 

And, apparently, meron pa siyang extra kasi inubos niya doon sa casino ‘yung isang ano eh, ‘yung isang bottle of Coke ng gasoline at ang pinagsindi niya ‘yung ginagamit natin na igniter na mahaba, ‘yung ginaganon. 

Ms. Mendez: And then, sir, you said he set him up on fire before shooting himself? 

DIR. ALBAYALDE: Probably because meron siyang tama sa ano eh, sa ulo. You could not possibly shoot yourself and then set yourself on fire, ‘di ba? 

Ms. Mendez: Sir, then he wrapped himself sa ano kumot? 

DIR. ALBAYALDE:  Yes, naka-ano siya kaya binuhusan niya ‘yung sarili ng gas. He ignited himself, set himself on fire, then bago siya ano, he shot himself. 

Ms. Mendez: Sir, that’s just a profile of a regular –– 

DIR. ALBAYALDE: Most probably. 

Ms. Mendez: — regular criminal, sir? ‘Yung mga ganyang alam niya ‘yung ginagawa niya, alam niya ’yung impact ng paano gamitin ‘yung gas, paano… Is that not a suicide terrorist or something? 

DIR. ALBAYALDE: No, of course not. If he’s a terrorist, most probably he’s bringing with him tons of bombs ‘no na nandito and most probably he could have shot everybody there with all his ammunition with him. 

Full-packed siya eh ‘no. He was bringing with him an Armalite rifle. Why would he not shoot everybody there and then detonate himself ‘no? Wala man siyang ano eh… Wala siyang ano so tama ‘yung sabi ni Secretary na he’s mentally disturbed. 

Ms. Mendez: I see. But, sir, there was maximum impact because there’s international impact and then deaths of many? 

DIR. ALBAYALDE: Well, it has really impact because there were several deaths ‘no. 

Talagang that’s the repercussion nung nangyari eh. That’s the result of his criminal act ‘no. 

But it doesn’t mean that his acts are—can be attributed to terrorism. Because if he is really a terrorist and he will set himself on fire, he would rather be detonate himself ‘no, bringing him tons of ano siguro or kilos of TNT sa katawan niya. And then detonate himself and then blast the whole hotel. 

Ms. Ignacio: Thank you, Tina. NCRPO Chief, allow me to read a question from Lani ng FB Presidential Comm. “Gumagana ba daw bo ‘yung sprinklers, fire alarm? Bakit ang daming namatay sa suffocation?” 

DIR. ALBAYALDE: Yes, that is now a subject of investigation ‘no. Iyon ang titingnan natin. Kasi kung ‘yan ay nasunog, the sprinkler should have activated — should have been activated. 

Genalyn Kabiling (Manila Bulletin): Secretary Abella, what was the President’s reaction to the incident and what were his directives to our security forces in dealing with—after the Resorts World incident? 

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: Well, basically the — there was a… I do not have the direct reaction from him but there was a security briefing earlier in the Guest House and so it was determined. 

And exactly the statement that I gave was actually result of that particular briefing. 

Ms. Kabiling: General Padilla. Sir, has the military decided if you are gonna limit or suspend the airstrikes following the incident? 

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: No, we are not. The incident that occurred the other day involved a particular aircraft and this will be the subject of the Board of Inquiry.

The aircraft and the crew involved have all been pulled out and are administratively back in their headquarters for debriefing as well as counseling.

You know, the worst scenario that can be likened to the worst nightmare for every pilot who tries to assist his fellow uniformed services on the ground is to have a case or an incident like this.

So we need to assist and help our personnel overcome this. At the same time, our Army is also helping the bereaved families go through this very trying time.

And sa punto pong ito, nais ko lang din pong ipaabot ano, kami po’y nagpapaabot ng pasasalamat sa lahat ‘nong mga pamilya na namatayan ng kanilang mga mahal sa buhay dahil sa insidenteng ito.

At ang narinig po namin, karamihan po sa kanila ay tanggap itong mga nangyaring ito dahil alam naman po nila ang bigat at risk na dala ng isang sundalo ‘pag pumupunta sa isang giyera.

Iyong komento po ng isang ginang kagabi sa isang interview ng inyong kaibigan na kapwa media, eh nagdala po ng — ng konting consolation sa lahat ng ating mga kasundaluhan pati na ho sa mga taong naging involved.

Similarly, there were postings in Facebook that tried to bring and communicate their support to the soldiers and we thank the public for this.

It’s very hard during these times, we become very emotional. Thank you.

Ms. Kabiling: Sir, last question. Sir, Secretary Lorenzana admitted that ammunition is running low. Is the military gonna boost–?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Your Armed Forces will never run out of ammunition, my dear.

We have the general arsenal to keep on producing. And even if they want to keep this fight up to the end of this month, or this week, or whatever, we are determined to take care of all these forces that have brought and disturb the peace, brought violence and disturb the peace to the peace-loving community of Marawi.

So katulad nga po ng sabi ko sa huling parte ng report natin kanina, kami po ay nanawagan na sana this armed bandits will come to their senses, surrender or face the dire consequences of military action and that means sure death.

JP Bencito (Manila Standard): To General Padilla. Sir, the Defense department has already released its arrest order. Sir, in the coming days, are we seeing that we will also release arrest warrants for drug lords, narco-politicians following their support to militant groups in Mindanao?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: There has been a list that has been approved, that in effect indicates identified personalities that need to be arrested.

So I’m not privy to the list, but this will be the subject of implementation in the coming days.

I cannot divulge the names for security reasons. And whatever else that we can find in the next few days as potential supporters of this armed rebellion will be dealt with accordingly.

Mr. Bencito: Sir, with the President’s pronouncements na somehow they are involved in… The threat of drugs is somehow contributing to the aggravating situation in Mindanao, sir, do you recommend to include the threat of drugs to the scope of martial law that is being implemented?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: The conditions that are placed on the Constitution regarding having martial law are very clear. It only calls on two situations: one, rebellion, and the other, invasion.

There is no other conditions other than those. The conditions prevailing right now in Marawi and elsewhere in Mindanao constitute rebellion and partly invasion and that is where martial law was based.

Other than that, anything related to rebellion and invasion may be connected to it, but if it’s not, then we cannot.

Ms. Gutierrez: General, ano pa po ‘yung mga conditions na nagpapahirap sa ating mga tropa on the ground, reason why we could not meet the deadline today, sir?

BRIG. GEN. PADILLA: Unang-una, mariin pong ibinigay na guidance ng ating mahal na Pangulo is ‘yung lahat ng law-abiding citizens at saka mga civillans na nandiyan pa sa lugar ay kailangan pangalagaan ang safety nila.

Kaya’t pinag-utos ng ating hepe, si General Eduardo Año, mariin niyang idiniin ito sa lahat ng ating commanders, na sa lahat ng gagawin nating military action, mangingibabaw ang buhay ng mga kababayan natin na naiipit diyan.

Kaya nga sinabi namin na piling-pili ang pag-apply natin ng military powers sa mga lugar lang na sigurado na wala na tayong mga civilian na natitira.

Kaya nga po pangalawa doon sa sinabi ko kanina sa mga courses of actions natin dito, is siguraduhin na mailikas natin ‘yung mga naiipit pa nating mga kababayan.

Kaya ang aming pong ginagawa ngayon, maski na po mahirapan kami, basta sigurado na walang mamamatay na iisang civilian sa mga loob ng mga lugar na ‘yan.

Dadahan-dahanin natin ito at hindi natin gagawan ng brutal force o a-aplayan (apply) ng brutal force. 

Kaya nga ang sabi natin commensurate application of appropriate military power to deal with the threats to ensure the safety of our civilians and lessen collateral damage.

Ms. Ignacio: Yeah, for Chairman Santiago. Ma’am, ano daw po yung… Ma’am… Ano daw po ‘yung possible mga difficulties na haharapin ng peace corridors sa mission niyo sa Marawi City? Iyong mga tingin niyo magiging problema niyo in case lang po?

CHAIRPERSON SANTIAGO: The main reason for having the peace corridor is really to make sure that that corridor is safe and secure because, as you know, the main market of the people from Malabang all the way down to Marawi, the main market is Marawi.

So marami ng nagugutom doon na mga nag-evacuate. So kasi ang ating tingin lang is ang evacuation pumunta lang sa Iligan ‘no.

So that’s… We think that that’s the case. Pero marami dito sa rural areas na ‘to, all the way down, ‘yung pula na ‘yan. So medyo nakalimutan sila.

So when I went to see ARMM the other day, they said, ‘Ma’am hindi kami makapasok diyan.’ Kaya humanitarian assistance, hindi makapasok.

And because we have the ceasefire mechanism where the AFP, PNP, and the MILF are together, and the MILF really knows those communities well, so ang ganda ng possibility ngayon of working together.

So ‘yung sinasabi what could go wrong? I think we can deal with the problem of security. So ‘yan ang main ano diyan.

‘Pagka nabukas na natin ‘yan, then the food can come in. The relief assistance can come in. So think we’re very good with the kind of mechanism we are setting up.

PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: That brings the end to the question and answer.

But we just like to continue to, again, I’d like to pick up on one of the comments earlier that said that, you know, about calling our attention regarding the release of fake news and the release of —  the release of unverified statements or comments.

We’d like to enjoin, especially the netizens, to please exercise responsibility and try to… I believe this is a particular historic moment for all of us to be able to come together that in spite of all the differences that we all work towards the preservation of peace and unity in the country.

Ano po… Siguro panahon po siguro ‘yung ipairal ang ating pagmamahal sa bayan, a sense of patriotism, that we aim to build and to bring people together instead of trying to separate.

No matter what our political colors are, we still have just one nation, one country, and so I’d like to just…

Again, thank you very much. And tomorrow, it will be Saturday and Sunday, we’ll have Radyo ng Bayan for our Q and A.

You can… What we’d like to suggest is that you text in or to submit to Radyo ng Bayan your questions and so that we can have the appropriate people to answer and to have the right answers.

Thank you very much. Good morning.

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