The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said it is possible that some of the ranking leaders and commanders of the Maute Group and their terrorist allies are among the 22 cadavers recovered in the main battle area in Marawi City last Tuesday.
This is possible as the bodies were recovered in two buildings where military units have encountered tough resistance in the past few weeks, AFP spokesperson, Maj. Gen. Restituto Padilla said late Wednesday.
“Interesado rin kaming malaman kung may malaking tao dito sa mga namatay na ito kaya’t nakiusap tayo sa PNP na madaliin ang pag-identify sa mga namatay na ito dahil maaaring may isa o dalawa dyan sa mga kinikilala nating naging lider ng grupong ito na bahagi ng cadavers,” he added.
Also recovered near the bodies were eight high-powered firearms — two rocket-propelled grenade launchers, four M-16 automatic rifles, an M-4 assault rifle, an M-14 automatic rifles — and dozens of improvised explosive devices.
Padilla added that the forensic examinations to be conducted by the police will determine whether foreigners are among the cadavers recently recovered.
As of this posting, the remaining Maute Group terrorists are estimated at 38 to 40, and those killed at 802.
Fighting in Marawi City erupted following an attempt to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon and his cohorts last May 23.
Military and police personnel killed in the ongoing campaign are now placed at 160, and rescued hostages at 1,750, while another 42 are held captive by the group.