‘Punisher’ Duterte admits he underestimated Maute: Matindi, talagang matindi
With the military death toll climbing and the Marawi crisis still raging, President Rodrigo Duterte finally admitted that he didn’t expect the Maute group to be this tough and deadly in battle.
“Itong Maute pati ano, matindi, talagang matindi. Hindi ko akalain na aabot itong ating casualty, patay,” said Duterte in a speech in Cagayan de Oro City. The military reported that 65 soldiers have died in the ongoing war to retake Marawi City from Maute who were backed up by Abu Sayyaf and ISIS.
After Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao last May 23, the Armed Forces of the Philippines declared that the crisis would end on June 4.
When the AFP missed its target, Duterte predicted that the siege would end by June 7. Unfazed by his missed projection, Duterte boldly predicted that the war would end on June 12, Indepedence Day.
Duterte and the AFP have since declined to make any more projections as the war has dragged on to its 29th day.
Duterte said Maute’s relentlessness has justified his declaration of martial law.
“Kaya ako ang nag-declare ng martial law. Kung ‘di naman ako mag-declare ng martial law, aabutin tayo ng problema patong-patong, baka hindi na natin masolve,” he said.
But Duterte was adamant he didn’t want to declare martial law.
“Ayaw ko. Ayaw ko talagang mag-martial law. Napipilitan lang ako dahil kung hindi, ang gulo sa Mindanao become widespread. Mahirapan na tayo,” said Duterte.