MANILA – Malacañang on Monday vowed to pursue justice for the bereaved families of 11 soldiers and 14 others wounded in a clash with the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Patikul, Sulu last Friday (April 17).
“Ang pangako po natin sa pamilya ng mga nasawi, bibigyan po natin ng katarungan ang inyong mga mahal sa buhay, at itataguyod pa rin natin ang soberenya ng Pilipinas (Our promise to the grieving families, we will give justice for your loved ones and will still promote the sovereignty of the Philippines),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a virtual briefing.
Roque earlier condemned the attack, stressing how enemies of the state “choose no date and occasion” in attacking government troops.
In a statement, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo also extended condolences to the soldiers’ families.
“We extend our deepest condolences to the families of these fallen soldiers who bravely fought for the State, as we pay tribute to their sacrifices, as well as to the honor they bring to our citizens in maintaining law and order in our land,” he said.
Panelo described the firefight as “barbaric” and “deliberate acts of cruelty”.
“No rhyme nor reason can ever be ascribed to such an affront to – and outrage upon – a person’s dignity. They are not only anti-democratic, but anti-human as well,” he said.
Panelo said the Abu Sayyaf “could not have committed far worse crimes” than what they did given that the attacks took place while the country is in a public health emergency.
He also called on government to pursue the Islamic extremist group.
“The perpetrators of these crimes should be relentlessly and mercilessly pursued to wherever until the guillotine of law falls down hard on them for their lawless and barbaric acts of violence,” he said.
Eleven soldiers were killed while 14 others were wounded in a firefight between government forces and ASG bandits in Danag village in Patikul, Sulu on Friday afternoon.
It was the government troops’ second encounter with ASG members following the April 16 confrontation that wounded three soldiers. (PNA)