AFP admits: the guns of the Ampatuans could have come from gov’t itself

Under questioning from Sen. Benigno Aquino III, vice chief of staff Lt. Gen. Rodrigo Maclang gives three reasons for the high powered firearms found in possession of the Ampatuan clan and their the supporters in Maguindanao: they were bought legally, they were acquired illegally, or they could have been given by government at a time when the Ampatuans and their supporters were waging the government’s war against the separatist rebels in Mindanao.
The following are notes, and incomplete.
Noy is Senator Aquino, Deva is Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera, Puno is Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno.

Ermita: there was normalcy on ground that AFP has started to conduct operations…sent to area to contemplate…which means no actual violence or fighting at the time..hence it was reported by AFP…as well as collaborated by pnp staff that there was normalcy on ground. However as this pursuit operation going on reports continue to filter to higher hqs and reported to office of pres. Continuing conferences…pointed to need for sterner measures to address possible deterioration of situation on ground…you will see situation had to be properly controlled if we are to account for…allow investigators to do jobs…at the same time able to gather enough evidence on ground and as shown later after declaration of martial law many weapons which prove there was…destabilization in area coupled with report from investigators of doj that witnesses were afraid to come out, there were judges who did not want to issue warrants…why it continued to deteriorate and necessary to control situation.

Noynoy: have there been violent clashes
Ermita: on dec 1 there was…but by time report was made there were people who have not been fully disarmed… preparing…

Maclang: three possible reasons for firearms. They could have acquired these firearms from legal sources, from commercial companies, they could have acquired these firearms from illegal sources, form enterprising civilians or possibly…military personnel. They could have acquired these firearms from past conflicts in Mindanao, remnants or residual like mnlf or milf conflict.

Noynoy: mortars recoilless rifles…normally comes also from AFP. The only question is these are firearms they are supposed to have serial numbers…are we getting that? At this point in time, AFP does not know…how they got into possession of ampatuan.

Maclang: we have accounted for the firearms issued to special companies, 437, other firearms in process of investigating, cannot identify sources, most have tampered serial numbers…

Noynoy: any additional powers exercised under declaration of martial not exercising by calling out powers?

Devanadera: under calling out power the only thing that the pres can do is call on AFP and on pnp for them to come to particular area and in this situation to maguindanao.

Noy: to suppress lawless violence? In declaring martial law, what additional powers?

Devanadera: declaration we have and what pres signed calls for declaration of martial and also suspension of privilege of writ. With this twin exercise of extraordinary power of pres, these two powers addressed to quell rebellion or invasion. In calling out power, rebellion need not be present, just to address lawlessness.
Those arrested under martial law should only be charged for rebellion.

Noy: there are no additional powers, unlike previous martial law that granted extraordinary powers?

Deva: yes because constitution not suspended, congress has to continue in operation, civilian gov’t has to continue in operation, to address or quell rebellion.

Noy: why granted no additional powers.

Deva: calling out powers to quell lawlessness, martial law for rebellion.

Noy: who is committing rebellion?

Deva: ones committing, ampatuan group, plus their armed forces or those people heavily armed.

Noy: same people ampatuans and followers, scaas, cvos, cafgus, previously agents of state. Organized under auspices of national gov’t.

Deva: yes because of report those originally organized, most of them originally recruited to defend the people, these are the same people now who have been transformed into private army and they now follow not the rule of the republic of phils but their leaders, the ampatuans.

Noy: public uprising, armed, with purpose of removing from exercise of power…definition of rebellion..

Deva: there need not be violent clashes. We have seen in reports that there wass really massing of these people who are heavily armed.

Noy: nobody has presented to media…saying they are withdrawing from allegiance or any such form of removal of control from agency of gov’t…vice gov of armm before us presenting budget…is there any evidence that any of these armed groups have rebelled by actions…posters, slogans.

Deva: courts are not functioning, there are no judges there even today. Came from judges who are from other provinces. Just for purpose of filing info against mayor unsay ampatuan…judge from another province had to be designated for purpose of receiving info…courts that had jurisdiction over maguindanao were not functioning…for each search warrant we had to communicate with sc for sc to designate a judge. That’s why in the reports it was stated there the courts we no longer functioning, even prosecutors were not there. We could not make them go back because some saying afraid for their lives. Our policemen…our armed forces were the ones who submitted to us the reports. With respect to removal of allegiance, what were submitted to us includes that the armed men or the large group of armed men was not actually following orders from the legitimate or duly constituted gov’t but merely from ampatuan clan. These are indications that institutions that were put in place, especially the armed group, were no longer part of republic of phils.

Noy: may I know if there is separatist group as stated by gen caro? Leaders identified in this separatist group previously unknown to general public?


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