Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the Abu Sayyaf group (ASG) still has to answer to their actions.
Abella contextualized President Rodrigo R. Duterte's earlier statement that he does not consider the group as criminals.
During an interview over DZRB Radyo ng Bayan on Saturday, the Palace official said, "He (President Duterte) was just trying to explain the context kung ano 'yung ginawa 'nong ASG (on what the ASG has done)."
He explained that "basically these are people who have already become desperate. But they (ASG) are still accountable for what they have done."
The presidential spokesperson said PRRD is not condoning the ASG's actions but is just giving context that they were forced to desperation.
"I believe that was the context of the statement, 'yung pinaggagawa nila may pinanggagalingan (he understands where their actions are coming from," Abella said.
He added that "hindi basta (not just) crime in the sense of just ordinary bandits pero meron silang (but they have) a motive, kaya lang (but) they still have to be answerable to their actions."
Abella further explained that Mindanao has been neglected for many years and the President will work for peace in the country's second biggest island, which the Duterte administration will transform from a land of promise to the land of fulfillment by improving the lives of Mindanaoans.
Source: The Philippine Information Agency