Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and his partylist, Magdalo, are being linked to the Maute group, the terrorist group involved in the conflict with government troops in Marawi City. What’s their connection?
Former Undersecretary for Special Concerns Abraham “Abe” Purugganan made the connection between the two groups.
He started with how his friend, a retired general, noted how Maute’s terror attack in Marawi was “unusual” because it was done before Ramadan, not after hariraya puasa.
“A friend who is a retired general, a veteran warrior who spent his military career for more than 20 years in Mindanao told me today that the terror attack in Marawi is unusual. According to him, jihadists do not launch attack before Ramadan. Usually, they attack after hariraya puasa or fitri. Take note that Ramadan is a holy month for Muslims. They respect and abide by it,” Purugganan wrote.
His friend also gave his theories as to why Marawi was targeted, with one of the possible reasons being to embarrass President Rodrigo Duterte.
“And why Marawi? According to him Marawi is a sanctuary and it is unlikely to be a target. Unless, it was designed to embarass the Pres Duterte while in Russia or drive a wedge between the MILF and the President to scuttle the on going peace process so that war can come to Mindanao.
To add to this, they may even be igniting a religious war. Look at the people and establishments that they have targeted,” Purugganan added.
“According to him, somebody is playing jihadist,” he said.
Then, Purugganan started talking about Magdalo’s connection to Maute.
“There is prior information last April of pilferages of firearms by Magdalo group for allegedly continuing ‘special ops’ during the Ramadan to sustain disturbances operation,’” he said.
“Now, some Maute members are reportedly also members of the Magdalo Partylist or the Samahan Magdalo.”
While he said that he is “trying to withhold conclusion” until he receives confirmation, he thought that the information he has points to Magdalo’s involvement.
“I am trying to withhold my conclusion pending more information to confirm this but my experience in intelligence analysis tells me that there is a connection especially when all information points toward Magdalo. Precautions have to be made,” Purugganan said.
And he even warned of the possibility of more attacks during Ramadan.
“What is scary here is that the report mentioned of continuing ‘special ops’ and ‘sustain disturbance opns’ during the Ramadan which could mean that other terror attacks may be forthcoming. Ramadan starts on 27 May up to 25 June, a month-long activity. This may be the reason why ML was declared,” he wrote.
Purugganan said that the government should look into the matter and arrest the people involved because national security is at stake.
As of writing, his post has been shared 9,770 times and reacted to 10,000 times.
Purugganan’s post was picked up by various blogs, such as newsinfo.ph and philnews.xyz, and earned at least 14,000 shares, if the numbers on Facebook Links were to be taken into account.
Even the younger sister of the late Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Paula Defensor-Knack, shared the story using her two Facebook accounts.
Other Facebook pages also picked up the story about Purugganan’s post, including “Ronald Dela Rosa Supporters,” “Paolo Duterte Supporters,” “OFW GLOBAL MOVEMENT Supporters President Rody Duterte,” “KUYA Erwin Tol,” “Anthony “Tunying” Taberna Supporters,” “Duterte Sa Masa,” “Showbiz Government,” and “Unoffiical: Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa Solid Supporters,” among other pages.
Duterte supporter and blogger Rey Joseph Nieto, a.k.a. Thinking Pinoy, asked if Trillanes is indeed affiliated with Maute and shared Purugganan’s post.
Writing for Malaya.com.ph, Ellen Tordesillas gave a brief look into Purugganan. He worked as a former spokesman of the Young Officers Union (YOU), a group of military officers responsible for the December 1989 coup d’etat against the late President Corazon Aquino, which led to the paralysis of the operations in Makati’s commercial center. He then served as Undersecretary for Speical Concerns under the administration of former President Gloria Arroyo.
Now, Purugganan is a “freelance consultant,” as per his LinkedIn profile.
Magdalo Rep. Gary C. Alejano called Purugganan’s post “fake and malicious information.”
“This is the height of irresponsibility of those involved in spreading this fake and malicious information especially in these trying times when our brothers and sisters in Marawi need all the support from the Filipino people. I categorically deny that Magdalo is involved in any terroristic acts or is affiliated with any terrorist groups. The intelligence community could affirm this as we have constant engagements with them,” Alejano said in a statement.
Magdalo’s lawyers are looking into legal action against those who are behind the spread of misinformation. “Binabalaan po namin ang mga taong sangkot na alisin at burahin ang mga ganitong kasinungalingan. Ang mga sangkot ay nais lamang sirain ang aming reputasyon at ibaling sa amin ang galit ng tao na sa halip ay magalit tayo sa totoong mga may pakana at nagsagawa ng pag-atake sa Marawi.”
“The Magdalo group strongly condemns the dastardly acts perpetrated by the Maute group and other lawless elements in Marawi City. We sympathize with the people of Marawi and urge the government to swiftly resolve the crisis with minimum damage to innocent lives and properties. I am confident with the capability of our Armed Forces to deal with this situation as they have proven in the past incidents even without the declaration of martial law,” Alejano said.
Trillanes said, “It is obviously a black propaganda, a very vicious one,” adding that he would address the issue after the military briefing for senators on May 29.
In his official Facebook page, Trillanes finally addressed the issue after asking National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana for confirmation on intel linking Magdalo to the Maute group.
“During the security briefing, I asked Sec. Lorenzana based on their intel report if I or the Magdalo Group is linked in any way with the Maute? He answered, ‘No, Mr. Senator. Na-receive din namin ang information na galing daw kay Abe Purugganan. Hindi totoo yun. Hindi naming pinansin yun,’” Trillanes said in his statement.
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