The Solicitor General has claimed that there are 20 other terrorist groups with links to the Islamic State besides Abu Sayyaf, the Maute Group and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
The government’s top lawyer Jose Calida made the claim at the Supreme Court to justify the proclamation of martial law across the island of Mindanao.
“The survival of the State hangs in the balance,” he said in the memorandum submitted to the Supreme Court today (Monday, June 19).
According to his 85-page memorandum, these lesser known groups are:
1 Ansar Dawiah Fi Filibbin
2 Rajah Solaiman Islamic Movement
3 Al Harakatul Islamiyah Battalion
4 Jama’at Ansar Khilafa
5 Ansharul Khilafah Philippines Battalion
6 Bangsamoro Justice Movement
7 Khilafah Islamiya Mindanao
8 Abu Sayyaf Group (Sulu faction)
9 Syuful Khilafa Fi Luzon
10 Ma’rakah Al-Ansar Battalion
11 Dawla Islamiyyah Cotabato
12 Dawlat Al Islamiyah Waliyatul Masrik
13 Ansar Al-Shariyah Battalion
14 Jamaah al-Tawhid wal Jihad Philippines
15 Abu Dujanah Battalion
16 Abu Khubayn Battalion
17 Jundallah Battalion
18 Abu Sadr Battalion
19 Jamaah Al Muhajirin wal Anshor
20 Balik-Islam Group
Mr Calida said the rebellion being waged by these groups was an ongoing — and increasing — danger to public safety.
He also said the 20 groups had already launched attacks in Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Zamboanga and Davao and their main objective was independence for Mindanao.
He added that there had already 43 violent attacks by the groups, mainly involving improvised explosive devices (IED). They were also involved in kidnapping and extortion, he said.
“In determining whether sufficient factual basis exist, this honourable Court should not limit itself to the tragic Marawi siege. The vicious and destructive acts by these groups against the military and the civilian populace are numerous and continuous, and have been taken into account by President Duterte before issuing Proclamation No. 216,” he told the high court.
Mr Calida also urged the Supreme Court to take account of the fact that fighting had been continuous in Marawi for 30 days.
“This alone is proof enough that the goal of these lawless elements is not merely to sow fear and panic to the populace, but to actually establish a stronghold in the Mindanao region and deprive duly-constituted authorities of their powers and prerogatives,” he said.