By Sammy F. Martin
MANILA, (PNA) — Senate President Franklin Drilon on Saturday said that Filipinos, Christians and Muslims alike, should rally behind President Benigno S. Aquino III as the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).
He said the ongoing siege in Zamboanga City perpetrated by followers of former Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) Chairman Nur Misuari is already on its 6th day.
“The state only recognizes only one armed forces and one police force in the country. Aside from the two is considered illegal,” Drilon told reporters at the weekly Saturday Forum at Annabel’s Restaurant in Quezon City.
Drilon said the President as commander-in-chief has ordered to ensure the safety of innocent civilians.
“What matters most is the preservation of life as the top priority. Sovereignty in the country cannot be compromised. It is indivisible. We must rally around the flag,” Drilon stressed.
The Senate president said President Aquino has already instructed Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Interior and Local Government Manuel Roxas II to exert all efforts to open dialogues with the MNLF Misuari faction to minimize casualties and damage to property and end the current stand-off.
“Sovereignty here is at stake and no nation leaders wanted their sovereign hostage. No ifs, no buts,” Drilon said.