PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) Chief Ronald Dela Rosa said Monday that the declaration of martial law in the entire Mindanao aided the government troops in arresting key members of the Maute terror group.
"Noon kasi hindi pa openly sila gumawa ng rebellion. Kahit na Maute ka, kahit na alam natin na sumasama ka doon sa kanila, walang case na na-build up against sa'yo so walang warrant na lumabas," Dela Rosa said in an interview in Calamba, Laguna.
"Ngayon napakadali mag-issue ng arrest warrant against doon sa mga alam natin na miyembro ng Maute, so 'yan may basis tayo under martial law na pwede natin silang hulihin. So 'yun napakadaling gawin," he added.
On May 23, the Maute terror group launched attacks in Marawi City where they held several hostages, burned and occupied some establishments and residential houses, and even killed innocent civilians.
The attack was made amid the intensified military operations conducted in the besieged city to neutralize the group's top leader, Isnilon Hapilon, which according to intelligence information was hiding there.
The attack resulted in the declaration of martial law in the entire Mindanao by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Amid the effectivity of the martial law, arrest warrants were issued against members and leaders of the bandit group.
Following the issuance of arrest warrants, the government forces arrested several key members of the group including Cayamora and Farhana Maute, the parents of Omarkhayam and Abdullah Maute who are among the top leaders of the terror group.
Abu Jadid, the group's alleged bomb maker, was also put behind bars recently while on Monday, June 19, a sister of the Maute brother was arrested while on board 2GO’s MV St. Therese of the Child Jesus near the port of Iloilo.
Dela Rosa said if not for martial law, the said key Maute members might still be at large.
"We are emboldened, we are empowered, and we are more motivated to go after them dahil nga merong martial law," he said. (SunStar Philippines)