The military has allayed public fears of another attack by terrorist Isnilon Hapilon should reports that he escaped Marawi City were true.
Military spokesman Restituto Padilla Jr. said the Abu Sayyaf no longer has the capacity to launch terrorist attacks.
“Ang kapasidad niya na mag-lunsad ng anumang klaseng pang-gugulo, hindi po kami naniniwala na kaya pa niya,” said Padilla during the Mindanao Hour in Malacañang on Wednesday, June 28.
He said the military has flushed out most of the terrorists from their hideouts.
“Malaki na po ang nangyari noong mga tumagal na mga nakaraang linggo na ito. At ang kapasidad na magsagawa ng kaguluhan, sa scale na nakita sa Marawi, hindi na nila kakayanin iyan,” he said.
But Padilla said the military was still validating reports that Hapilon has escaped the conflict-torn city.
If proven true, he said it was an indication that he was a “coward.”
“Ang pag-alis niya sa lugar na iyon ay senyales ng cowardice o pagiging duwag. Kasi kung may bakbakan, ang pinakamahirap at pinakamasakit na mangyari ay iiwanan ka ng isang kinikilang leader,” he said.
“Pero kung saka-sakali man na totoo na ito na siya’y wala na diyan, ito’y nag-papatibay na naduwag na siya. It’s an act of cowardice, if he abandoned his fellow terrorists from inside. And showing that he fled from the battle and left many more of his companions inside would not wit well and may be indicative of an infighting that is occurring among them,” he added.
President Duterte had placed a P10 million bounty on Hapilon on top of the $5-million bounty from the US.
“It is important that he be caught dead or alive and it is in the interest of our country kasi matagal na siyang wanted. Wanted siya ng ibang bansa na binigyan pa ng pabuya ang kanyang pagkaaresto at pagkapatay,” he said.
“Iyan ay nag-bibigay patibay na ang pagkahuli sa kanya o pagkapatay sa kanya ay napaka-importante,” he added.