Intelligence gathering isn't perfect, argues SolGen
MANILA - Supreme Court Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo on Wednesday said the military had a "total" failure of intelligence on the Maute group’s attack in Marawi City.
“Apparently the Maute rebels were well-prepared. How is it that our military, it’s a total failure of intelligence,” Del Castillo said on the second day of oral arguments on the petition seeking to nullify President Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
Del Castillo asked Solicitor General Jose Calida why the military did not discover the Maute group’s preparations ahead of the siege which began on May 23.
“The way the war has waged on, it would seem that the Maute rebels are well-prepared. Their arms, ammunition seem to be inexhaustible. And there was one time millions of pesos was recovered from a hideout. It takes time to have done what they did. And I’m surprised why the military never discovered all these, the preparations that went into it,” he said.
“Why did it have to reach this point where practically the military was taken by surprise? You were trying to arrest, you were saying, [Abu Sayyaf leader] Isnilon [Hapilon] and to prevent that, the Maute rebels had to make their act.”
Calida, in a consolidated comment on the Supreme Court petitions against the martial law declaration, previously said the military knew in April that the Maute group’s followers had been deployed to Marawi City and nearby areas.
Calida responded to Del Castillo's question by saying “intelligence gathering is not perfect.”
“It’s like a jigsaw puzzle. There are certain parts of the puzzle that are not yet clear. But one thing is clear, the military knew that Hapilon was already in Marawi City and that’s why they went there to arrest him because they got wind also of his plans,” he said.