Former Marawi City mayor Omar Solitario has asked that he be permitted to engage the terrorist Maute Group in negotiation to free the non-combatant hostages it continues to hold, as a way to resolve the impasse.
But this would also entail, Solitario added, allowing the terrorists to go scot free.
In a series of text messages to Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza, Solitario said that war is not the solution.
“I’m seeing there is no fast conclusive military solution,” he said, and alluded to the conduct of a back channel negotiation toward an informal accord aimed at freeing the hostages unharmed.
Solitario as among those eyed for the charge of rebellion for acts tending to support the Maute fighters.
Department of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana made an effort to consult with the ground commanders at the battle zone. The feedback: No. Not when the battle has started to wind down with the imminent defeat of the terrorists in sight.
“No talks. No negotiation,” Sec. Lorenzana underscored firmly the position of the security forces. “Solitario’s suggestion is unacceptable.”
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