The Philippine National Police (PNP) will investigate the “leaker” of a copy of a memorandum from a local police maritime unit in Pangasinan that mentioned vehicles allegedly carrying improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and bound for Metro Manila from Mindanao.
In the memorandum, the PNP Maritime Unit of Dapitan, Pangasinan reported a total of seven cars of different types and models and with one identified to be driven by a Mohammad Romato.
It said the vehicles are possibly going to exit from a Ro-Ro (Roll on-Roll Off) port terminal.
“If we will look into this, all memorandum[s]should have a security classification and clearly [this one from Pangasinan was]not for circulation because it [was]just an [information]guide,” PNP spokesman Dionardo Carlos told reporters in a news briefing on Tuesday.
The investigation will try to identify the one who leaked the copy of the memorandum, whether it came from a civilian or from the PNP Maritime Group itself.
The seven vehicles are a black Toyota Hilux (TO 4823), a black Toyota Land Cruiser (VIM 889), a black Honda Civic (KDY 462), a gray Toyota Vios (ZBM 340), a black Isuzu Dmax (PIJ 139), a black Toyota Innova (ZDT 395) and a white Nissan Sentra (UER 452), which is driven by Romato based on the memorandum.
Carlos said the local maritime group has the authority to release such information and such memorandum can be shared with different units under the PNP but the handling of the information will depend on its classification, Carlos said.
The memorandum has reached the Philippine Coast Guard, he added.
In Bacolod City, the PNP Maritime Command in Negros Island Region is on alert for the presence of the seven vehicles reportedly armed with IEDs from Mindanao.
Supt. Someon Gane, the command’s chief, said he has already alerted all ports on the island especially those in the cities of Bacolod, San Carlos and Dumaguete to prevent the entry of the vehicles into the region.
He also assured that Negros “is free from the threat of terrorists groups like the Maute Group and the Aby Sayyaf Group.”
“We are regularly securing the waters surrounding the Negros region in coordination with the Philippine Coast Guard and the Philippine Navy,” Gane added.
In a report, Regional Maritime Unit 9-904th Maritime Police Station based in Dapitan City, the seven “car bombs” are being transported from Mindanao bound for Metro Manila.
The suspected vehicles are traveling via the Visayas islands using Ro-Ro vessels.
Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. called on local residents to immediately report to police suspicious-looking individuals, especially if they see that they are armed and are sympathetic to the cause of terrorists. DEMPSEY REYES AND EUGENE ADIONG