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Anyare sa intel funds? Otso Diretso’s Alejano, Diokno question why gov’t couldn’t prevent fatal bombings in Mindanao


Senatorial aspirants Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano and Chel Diokno questioned the administration’s failure to prevent the recent fatal bombings in Mindanao, despite the allocation for intelligence funds and the continued imposition of martial law in the region.

The candidates, who belong to the Otso Diretso slate, said the twin explosions at the Jolo Cathedral in Sulu and the bombing of a mosque in Zamboanga City could have been prevented because of these measures in place.

Alejano, a bemedalled former Marine officer, said government security forces should have properly assessed and acted upon the security in the area, especially since administration officials have themselves admitted that they have monitored bomb threats as early as August last year.

“Mayroon na silang information. At may budget ho tayo. Napakalaki. Hindi lang sa ating Armed Forces o sa PNP (Philippine National Police)—sa opisina mismo ng ating Presidente, malaki ang confidential and intelligence funds diyan,” he said.

“And the fact na nalusutan, kahit ano pang sabihin ng ating gobyerno, I understand na nagtatrabaho ang ating military, ang ating pulis, pero the fact na may sumabog, nalusutan,” he added.

For his part, Diokno lamented that martial law was declared and repeatedly extended in the region without truly hearing the views of the residents of Mindanao. This, he said, has resulted in putting the residents in a more difficult situation.

“Talagang nalulungkot kami sa pag-extend ng martial law dahil ang daming natatamaan, lalong lalo na iyong mga lumad, ang mga [indigenous peoples], ang mga mahihirap—sila iyong totoong mukha—sabihin natin—ng martial law sa Mindanao,” he said.

Diokno, a respected human rights lawyer, is representing lumad teachers and students as they ask the Supreme Court to declare the third extension of martial law in Mindanao as unconstitutional.

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