Palace vows justice for beheaded soldier
Malacanang vowed on Monday justice for a soldier who was beheaded by the Abu Sayyaf bandits in Sulu province.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the government "strongly" condemns the murder of Staff Sergeant Anni Siraji of the Army's 32nd Infantry Battalion.
"This is our assurance to the family of Staff Sergeant Siraji: That we would not stop until justice is served," Abella said.
"This barbaric act committed by ASG to a fellow Tausug has no place in a civilized society," he said.
He said Siraji was a member of the Moro National Liberation Front, a former rebel group that forged a peace deal with the government during the administration of former President Fidel Ramos, and who was integrated in the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
"While Staff Sergeant Siraji was a soldier, he was a MNLF member who decided to trade his rifle as a fighter to become a peacemaker and agent of development to his fellow Tausugs," Abella said.
He called on the people to remain vigilant, alert and watchful and to cooperate with the security forces as the government troops continue to pursue the bandit group and hold them accountable for their brutal and senseless crimes.
"Let us work against common criminals to have safer and more secure communities," he said.
The bandits led by certain Julhasan, a follower of Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan, seized Saraji on April 20 when he was about to buy chicken from the residents in Igasan, Patikul, Sulu.
Soldiers found Siraji’s head 50 meters near the cadaver in the vicinity of Sitio Kan Suil, Barangay Tagbili in Patikul on Sunday afternoon. Celerina Monte/DMS