Abu Sayyaf plotting to kidnap Kris Aquino, Manny Pacquiao
President Benigno Aquino III has condemned the murder of the Canadian hostage killed by Abu Sayyaf. He vowed to neutralize the armed terrorist group using the country's "full resources", as he hopes to lessen the burden that his successor will carry.
'Threats against my own life have been investigated'
The president has found out of a plot by the Abu Sayyaf to kidnap his sister, Kris Aquino, as well as Sarangani representative Manny Pacquiao.
"Threats against my own life have been investigated," said Aquino while condemning the murder of the Canadian national two days after his decapitated head was found.
The president has pledged that the government will remove the terror threat of Abu Sayyaf. Abu Sayyaf has pledged their allegiance to international terrorist group ISIS. The president noted that Abu Sayyaf is trying to catch the attention of ISIS as they seek to go more extreme in terrorizing parts of Mindanao. While there is no clear evidence that the two groups are collaborating with one another, if the Abu Sayyaf gains access to shared networks, funds, and resources by ISIS the country will face a much bigger threat of terrorism in the streets.
"ASG and various smaller terrorist groups and factions now want to align themselves with ISIS to gain access to the funds and resources of ISIS. From Day One of my administration, they have had aspirations to conduct bombings in Metro Manila to catch the attention of ISIS," said Aquino.
Aquino also reassured people that these plots "remain only aspirations".
"May I emphasize that these have been, and remain, only aspirations," he added.
As a result of these threats, Kris has been living in Malacanang for the meantime. There were other plots that were uncovered by the government. Another plot was to use the inmates of the New Bilibid Prison to radicalize more into becoming terrorists, possibly using them as sleeper cells.
Currently, the terrorist group has hostaged 22 foreigners in Sulu. These include 14 Indonesians and 4 Malaysians.
The Canadian national John Ridsel who was murdered angered the international community and embarrased the Aquino administration. The president ordered the military to rescue him but was too late. The day of the murder was the same day the military had enough preparation to go after them.
As a result, Brigadier General Alan Arrojado, brigade Army commander of Sulu troops, resigned from his post after news of the murder spread.
"Yesterday, I sent a letter to the family of John Ridsel expressing our condolences. We are so appalled by this murder. Mr. Ridsel was a person against whom no one had any grievance; a person who was powerless against his captors," stated Aquino.
He also issued a show of strength, saying that instead of "instilling fear in us", the group has pushed the country into "galvanizing further to ensure justice is meted out."