The wear and tear of always being on the run has caught up with Abu Sayyaf Group leader Radullan Sahiron, the Armed Forces of the Philippines' Joint Task Force Sulu said Thursday.
Task force commander Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said Sahiron had sent surrender feelers because he was supposedly weary of hiding and running away from the authorities.
"Nagpapahiwatag na, because he is, as reported to us, na he is weak, tapos tired and weary," Sobejana said at a news conference.
"Kasi they are moving from one place to another e, kami naman hindi tumitigil, e kami hindi napapagod dahil we rotate our forces," he added.
Asked if he thought Sahiron was serious as regards giving himself up, Sobejana said the ASG was running short on supplies and no longer had the support of communities.
"Kung titingnan mo, dahil sa kanilang condition ngayon na on the run, they run short of logistics, they are no longer, they are outside their comfort zones, they no longer enjoy the support coming from the community," Sobejana said.
"May katotohanan e," he added.
Sobejana sent word to Sahiron that members of the bandit group loyal to him should follow suit.
"Si Radullan is a respected leader, a traditional leader, ngayon we wanted to tell him na if he really is serious of giving up, dapat kasama yung followers niya," Sobejana said.
If this happens, Sobejana said, the strength of the ASG could be significantly reduced to only 30 percent and create a leadership vacuum among the bandits' ranks.
"Ilagay natin 60 to 70 percent of the problem has been solved, mayroon tayong 30 percent na maiwan, okay lang. For a while there will be a leadership vacuum, there will be a power struggle among the sub-leaders kung sino yung [maglead] sa kanila," Sobejana said.
He mentioned ASG leaders Isnilon Hapilon, Yasser Igasan, and Hatib Sawadjaan as among those who will fight to succeed Sahiron after he surrenders.
Sobejana said a "well respected" and "close friend" of Sahiron is serving as the emissary of the ASG leader. He, however, refused to give further details until they have confirmed the sincerity of Sahiron.
"We want to validate the sincertity of Radullan on this. Kumbaga hindi pa namin 'to masyadong navalidate yung plano nila, we have to get other sources to corroborate yung report na nakarating sa amin at yung taong contact namin," Sobejana said. —Joseph Tristan Roxas/NB, GMA News