President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday pointed to the projected arrival of ISIS in the country and the open defiance of lawless armed groups in Marawi City as the "compelling reasons" for his declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
Duterte said that the police chief of a Lanao del Sur municipality in Marawi City was beheaded after he was stopped at a checkpoint run by the terrorists.
He also adverted to the buildings—schools, a chapel and a hospital among them—that were set on fire allegedly by the Maute group.
"The hardest thing to deal with is the arrival of ISIS in our country and it has come to pass that there is really war going on and street fighting in Marawi itself," Duterte said.
"I do not know how many buildings were destroyed but 'yong chief of police ng Malabang... He was stopped by a checkpoint that was manned by the terrorist and I think they were decapitated right there and then," he added.
Later on in the press conference, Duterte said members of ISIS were manning the checkpoint in Marawi City.
The clashes in the city were between the military and the police on one side, and the ISIS-inspired Maute group on the other.
The AFP has consistently denied that the Maute group has connected with the ISIS.
The military is claiming that it was in pursuit of Abu Sayyaf Group leader Isnilon Hapilon in Marawi City when the Maute members launched diversionary attacks.
These included the burning of buildings in the city.
The President also said that the Maute group's raising the ISIS flag is considered a crime of rebellion, as they removed Marawi City from its allegiance to the Philippine government and deprived the Chief Executive of his powers and prerogatives to enforce the laws of the land and to maintain public order and safety in Mindanao.
"These things government cannot allow it is an open defiance and the violence and the atrocities continue government must put an end to this. I cannot gamble with ISIS because they are everywhere," Duterte said. —NB/BM, GMA News