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Armed and dangerous
By Elson T. Elizaga
Portion of Mindanao showing Marawi City in red

Fighting confined only to a small area (in red) but martial law has been declared in the entire Mindanao. Map modified from Wikimapia.org.


These fights with the Abu Sajjaf 1 in Bohol, and the Maute Group in Marawi suggest that if the suspected criminals are armed, they are tough targets. They are dangerous. They can kill. But if they have no weapons, if they are snoring inside their houses, all you have to do is kick the door open and shoot.

And then everything is taken from that them. All their dreams: Their dream of winning 500 million pesos in the lottery, their dream of sending their children to UP, their dream of meeting the Godsend they had voted for president – all these are gone.


So, in a short period, 2,000 to 9,000 drug suspects (the number depends on who you ask) have been silenced, either by the police or the alleged vigilantes. It is easy to neutralize people who have no guns, or have guns but can’t hit a carabao 10 feet away.

Got this report just now from the Philippine Daily Inquirer: “President Rodrigo Duterte revealed on Friday that the Maute Group fighting government troops in Marawi City was founded by two brothers (Abdullah and Omar Maute) who were former police officers involved in illegal drugs.

“’They were policemen in Manila who got enamored with the money of shabu,’ he said. ‘Umuwi dito (They returned here) and established one of the biggest factories of shabu in Lanao del Sur,’ Duterte said in a speech before soldiers at the multi-purpose hall of the Army’s 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade.”

So, the Maute Group was into drugs. So, they had established one of the biggest factories in Lanao del Sur. I’m repeating it just for emphasis. We have no numerical information about the size of the factory. But the question is why were they not caught in the drug war before they attacked Marawi? And where is this factory now?

Before I get misinterpreted, let me just say I’m not against martial law per se. Nobody in his right mind should be against martial law. Because it’s in our constitution. When there’s a threat of rebellion or invasion, the option is to declare martial law, if your president wants to. If he doesn’t want to even when some of our islands have been invaded by China, that’s his call. He is correct in being cautious because China has missiles, we only have firecrackers. You just don’t kick the door of the Chinese embassy and start shooting. You have to learn to speak Mandarin first. Knock and say “Bobo chichang, chi chiri kong tong nang?

Oops, I think that’s Cantonese.

Former Cagayan de Oro mayor Reuben Canoy expresses support for the declaration of martial law in his radio program “Perspective”. He recalls Ninoy Aquino, who allegedly said he would declare martial law if elected president. Canoy is a family friend. But his explanation is weak. It we convert it into a syllogism, we get a non-sequitur:

Ninoy Aquino would declare martial law if elected president. Rodrigo Duterte has declared martial law in Mindanao. Therefore, martial law is good. (Never mind the plunder and atrocities of Ferdinand Marcos. We know because Canoy has educated us. We are lungsod nga nasayod.)

Before I end this article, which seems to be going nowhere, let me mention that someone in Facebook is annoyed by crackpots criticizing the declaration of martial law. She wrote: “Why not shout No to Maute, no to extremists, and come up with am [sic] alternative to Martial Law?”



1 Yes, the correct word is "Sayyaf." Many Boholanos, however, pronounce y as j. That's why there's a joke: "Ninja ray mupatay ninjo."


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