Police checking Maute bomb Metro plan

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A memorandum from a police station in Valenzuela City about an alleged plan of members of the Maute Group to bomb several areas in Metro Manila caused a stir when it circulated online on Tuesday.

COUNTER-TERROR TRAINING Members of the Special Weapons and Tactics team of the Manila Police District join a training session on counter-terrorism and the disposal of explosives and ordnance on Tuesday. The military and police are on high alert to prevent the spillover of Islamic State-linked terrorist groups outside Mindanao. PHOTO BY BOB DUNGO JR.

National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Oscar Albayalde said the police will validate the memorandum signed by Chief Insp. Jowilouie Bilaro.

The memorandum, released by the Valenzuela City Police Station’s intelligence branch, said Maute members identified as Mambang Maute, Abu Hidaya Maute, Tony Bihusan from Tandang Marang Valenzuela, Gareb Santos of Taguig, Abu Bakar Alyankana, Al Shamir Alfana, Rhodz Wheng Kalasahan, Abu Fatie, Abu Al Hafina Hadid, Abu Quatada, Abu Safyan, Abu Ridzman, Abu Wahab and Abu Osama were planning to bomb some malls and parks in the cities of Quezon, Manila and Makati.
Albayalde said the information was being validated.

“We assure the public that we do not take for granted any information reported to us. We process every
information received and task our police on the ground to validate all these so that we will be able to address any threat immediately and appropriately,” he said.


Albayalde ordered Northern Police District (NPD) director Chief Supt. Roberto Fajardo to investigate and verify the document from the Valenzuela Police Station.

The Metro police chief also cautioned the public against spreading unverified information that may cause panic.

“[T]he spread was too fast that even before we confirmed its validity it’s already everywhere,” Albayalde lamented.

“We reiterate our call that security is everyone’s concern, while we give due respect to freedom of expression, let us be vigilant by not spreading news or information that may cause undue alarm to the public at large,” he said.

Fajardo said the information in the document is “raw intelligence information.”

“I have immediately ordered an in-depth investigation on the breach of handling procedures on confidential documents,” Fajardo told reporters.

“There was a signature [in the document]that is why people are panicking. We are still validating it.”

Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr. said the military’s intelligence unit has not received any information on the reported plan of the Maute members to strike in Metro Manila.
“So far, [there is]none,” he told reporters in a text message.

NAIA on high alert

The circulation of Bilaro’s memorandum prompted the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to heighten security in all its four major terminals.

The Aviation Security Group (Avsegroup) of the Philippine National Police on June 18 issued an advance information to alert the troops in all airports regarding the threat.

According to the Avsegroup memo, the Maute group and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom fighters (BIFF) will launch major attacks in key cities nationwide on June 30, 2017.

All airports, especially the four major international airports, Manila, Clark, Cebu-Mactan and Davao —are on heightened security alert.

The memorandum also stated that foreign terrorist group will carry out suicide attacks.

“Also it was gathered that the Maute special units who graduated last November from explosive training had already been in place at their respective targets nationwide to simultaneously execute the said attack during the Friday prayer. ‘Jumaah’ mosques will not be spared,” it added.

Avsegroup Director Rudencindo Reales immediately ordered his men to intensify intelligence monitoring and coordinate with intelligence counterparts to gather related information.

WITH BENJIE L. VERGARA AND JING VILLAMENTE

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