Duterte confirms ex-Marawi mayor negotiating with Maute group
President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday confirmed former Marawi City Mayor Omar Solitario is negotiating with the Daesh-inspired Maute group
Duterte said Solitario expressed his desire to surrender and help the government after finding out he is included in a list of narcopoliticians.
"He was commissioned by (Presidential Peace Adviser Secretary Jesus) Dureza. It was with the acquiescence, not expressly, of Secretary (Delfin) Lorenzana," he said.
The president said, Solitario told him "I'm better off working for you than putting me in prison."
He said Solitario proposed many things but he is more focused on the release of the hostages.
"Then he proposed many things, mostly about talking peace to the Mautes or bargaining the hostages. I'm more on the release of the hostages. I confirm that it really happened," he added.
Asked if he will allow the safe passage of the terrorist group in exchange with the hostages, Duterte simply said:"No way."
But Duterte assured them they will be properly prosecuted and be treated as human beings once they surrender to the government.
"We will try them, give them due process, provide them with a lawyer, and there will be no oppression or harassment, or anything. No violence will be inflicted upon them if they surrender," he said.
"If they choose to fight, then the State has the right to kill them. Simply, they are rebelling," he added.
Duterte also said he is willing to extend the fight against Maute group in Marawi if it is one of the way that he can save lives.
"I am not placing any timetable because if they say, 'Well, we need another six months'. Then we'll just have to wait it out... If I can save one life there, I am willing to wait one year," he said. Ella Dionisio/DMS