Duterte hopeful Isnilon Hapilon finally killed in airstrikes
President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said he thinks Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon has died in military airstrikes a couple of months ago.
“I ordered the bombing of his house one month, two months ago and we have not heard from him so I suppose baka patay na (he is dead already),” he said during the investiture ceremony of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines in Malacañang.
Duterte said Hapilon, who is on the most wanted terrorists list of the US, is the “anointed” representative of the Islamic State in the Philippines.
However, he said it is the militant group’s “style” to disappear and not resurface until quite some time.
“But I hope that we got him that time,” Duterte said.
He said that he is open to holding peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), but he will not tolerate terrorist groups.
“The ISIS and itong drugs talagang tatapusin ko (I will really end ISIS and the drug problem),” he said.
In January, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Hapilon was seriously wounded by military airstrikes in Butig, Landao del Sur.
He said Hapilon was “being carried by four men in a makeshift stretcher moving northeast of Butig” as the military went after the group. JE
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