ARMED Forces head General Eduardo M. Año and Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ M. de la Rosa yesterday signed a joint resolution requesting President Duterte to create an Inter-Agency committee on Legal Action or IACOLA which will be in-charge of pursuing the government’s legal offensive against terror groups posing a major threat to national security.
In the joint resolution, the two top security officials requested Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana, also the martial law administrator in Mindanao, to recommend to the president the issuance of an executive order creating the IACOLA which was brought to fore by the implementation of martial law in Mindanao in the aftermath of the Maute Group attacks.
The resolution was agreed to counter threats posed by foreign terrorist organizations and various local terrorist groups such as the Abu Sayyaf Group, the Maute Group, the Ansar al-Khalifa Philippines now known as the Maguid Group, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and the New People’s Army as well as other lawless armed groups now emerging as threats to national security.
These terror groups and their foreign and local sympathizers “have been launching numerous attacks nationwide, among which was the rebellion launched by the ASG and Maute Group in Marawi City; the establishment of ‘wilayat’ in the Philippines and the linkages of these groups to international terrorists that pose serious threats to national security,” the joint resolution said.
The agreement states that “upon the termination of Martial Law, the PNP and the AFP shall continue to monitor all cases to ensure the conviction of perpetrators in close coordination with other government agencies, the prosecutors and the court.”
It also says that “these are, but not limited to the continued investigation of cases, intelligence gathering and cooperation, profiling of victims and suspects, case build-ups, manhunt operations and arrest of criminals.”
Both Generals de la Rosa and Año agreed that efforts in initiating and maintaining legal offensive against leaders and personalities of these terror groups require the involvement and participation of various government agencies, hence “there is a need to strengthen coordination and foster cooperation towards a more holistic approach resulting in a better case management.”
The IACOLA will be composed of officers from the PNP, the AFP, the National Bureau of Investigation, National Prosecution Service and other units that may be tasked by the IACOLA Oversight Board.