Duterte appeals to Abu Sayyaf: Do not mutilate bodies

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Veering away from his usual incendiary, expletives-ridden speeches, President Rodrigo Duterte showed a softer side as he condoled with the families of slain soldiers in Zamboanga City on Wednesday early afternoon.

Duterte said his heart would bleed everytime he would sign papers for acquisition of ammunition — knowing these would be used to kill fellow Filipinos: soldiers and enemies of the government alike.

Video: Families of killed soldiers mourn

"Sa giyerang 'to, walang mananalo dito, puro talo tayong lahat. Sayang ang gastos ng bala pati armas na wala namang kakwenta-kwenta," he said.

[Translation: Everybody loses in this war, nobody wins. It's a waste of money on bullets, arms for something that is senseless.]

Related: Duterte: Abu Sayyaf can be crushed in a week

Fifteen members of the 35th Infantry Division were killed during clashes in Sulu with the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).

The wife of one of the fallen soldiers lashed out at the bandit group for what they did to her husband.

Darwisa Hamsi said the bandits mutilated the body, slitting the neck and gouging the eyes.

"Anong klase silang mga tao? Nangingidnap sila. Yan ba ang pinapakain mo sa mga anak at asawa nyo. Wala kayong awa pumatay. Hindi na kayo tao, hayop kayo," she cried out.

[Translation: What kind of people are you? You abduct people for ransom. Is that what you feed your families? You brutally kill. You are no longer humans, you are animals.]

Even the tough-talking President evidently didn't have the stomach for such form of brutality. He appealed to the bandit group to fight with honor —  citing that warriors of the Tausug (a Moro tribe) fight like honorable men.

"So pakiusap ko lang sa lahat, mga Abu Sayyaf. Putulan ninyo ng ulo, ano ba? You know, ikaw, kung warrior ka, isang bala lang. Kaya sabi ko sa mga sundalong 'wag ninyong gawin na parakrakan 'yang mukha, sirain ang katawan. For what?," Duterte said.

[Translation: I am pleading with the Abu Sayyaf. No need for beheading. If you are a warrior, one bullet would kill the enemy. I even tell the soldiers not to shoot at the face or riddle the body of the enemy with bullets.]

Related: No soldier beheaded by Abu Sayyaf in Sulu clash - AFP

The President said such acts of brutality were unnecessary in the battlefield and repeated his plea several times.

"Pakiusap ko (This is my plea): Kung away lang man [In a fight, let's fight]. But do not add grief to the family by destroying the body... (Do) you think Allah would be happy to see you do like that? You mutilate the body of the human being?"

Related: Duterte to soldiers: Pay hike in August, aid for seriously ill

To the bereaved families, Duterte said they would be taken care of — from free education for the children, to monthly stipend and rice allocation.

"I am sorry that this has to happen. I do not want it to happen again, kung maari lang (If it is only possible that this would not happen again," he told the wives and relatives of the killed soldiers.

CNN Philippines' David Santos contributed to this report.