MANILA - Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Thursday said the battle in Marawi City might end Sunday after the military reclaimed another mosque in the conflict-stricken city.
"This morning the White Mosque, this morning I got this text na kuha na. So kaunti na lang. I think mukhang by Sunday tapos na ito," Lorenzana told reporters.
Lorenzana said a lawmaker told him on Wednesday that the Islamic State-inspired terrorists have sent surrender feelers and that they requested not to be killed if they give up.
"There was this offer to surrender by these Mautes. Sinabi sa akin ni congressman kahapon during the Marawi briefing by the Muslim Affairs Committee. Ang sabi niya gusto nilang sumurrender, sabi ko walang problema," he said.
"'Yung mga tropa natin sa Marawi, araw-araw iyan meron silang bullhorn, kung gusto niyong sumurrender lumabas kayo with your hands up in the air, so sabi ko sa kanya anytime they want to surrender, they can get out, hindi sila papatayin, ang request lang daw nila 'wag silang patayin," he added.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said due process will be given to members of the Maute group who will lay down their arms.
"Kung mag-surrender sila, okay lang. We will try them, give them due process, provide them with a lawyer and there will be no oppression, harassment or anything," Duterte said in a press briefing at the Camp Evangelista Station Hospital in Cagayan de Oro City.
The conflict has been raging on for more than four months, leaving the once bustling urban and cultural capital in ruins, displacing more than 200,000 residents, and killing more than 800, most of them terrorists. --Report from Henry Atuelan, ABS-CBN News