Malacañang has defended President Rodrigo Duterte’s trip to Russia in May after Solicitor General Jose Calida revealed that the federal government already had data on the Maute group’s plan to attack Marawi City on May 18.

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella stated that whereas Duterte had “enough information” concerning the risk posed by the Maute group, he and different officers have relegated the accountability of quelling it to the bottom commanders of the army.

“The top commanders need not need to be there physically present because they were not — they didn’t have to be there to pull out guns. These matters were going to be related to ground commanders. However, there was sufficient information and the ground commanders themselves had said, ‘Look, it’s… You can travel,’” he stated in the course of the “Mindanao Hour” briefing in Malacañang Wednesday (June 14).

Duterte lower brief his trip to Russia, scheduled from May 21 to 26, as a result of Maute group’s attack on Marawi City on May 23.

He subsequently declared martial regulation in Mindanao.

In the consolidated remark submitted to the Supreme Court forward of the oral arguments on the declaration of martial regulation, Calida stated the Maute group’s siege “would have served as a precursor for other terrorist groups to stage their own uprising across Mindanao in a bid to simultaneously establish a ‘wilayah’ (administrative division) in the region.”