THE police foiled a possible attempt to sow terror in Metro Manila with the arrest on Monday of a member of the Maute group that has aligned itself with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria or ISIS.
Philippine National Police chief Ronald Dela Rosa said Nasip Ibrahim, who was captured Monday night in Barangay Culiat, Quezon City, was part of the group that planted an explosive at the Rizal Park in December last year. Fortunately, the bomb that was left near the US Embassy did not explode.|
Police found in Ibrahim’s possession two .45 cal. pistols, a KG-9 machine pistol, a 60mm mortar shell with detonating device and seven heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets of metamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu.
“I am glad that alert operatives of the NCRPO (National Capital Regional Police Office) discovered and intercepted in time an improvised explosive device being prepared by the suspects even before it can be delivered to its possible target or used elsewhere,” dela Rosa said in a news briefing.
A few days before planting the bomb near the US embassy, Ibrahim reportedly met with three other terrorists — his uncle Isnadie Ibrahim alias Bro Akh/Inspire, Najib and Rashid Kilala — near SM Marilao.
It was reportedly Ibrahim who provided the accommodation for the group at the Park Villa along Quezon Avenue in Quezon City, where they stayed for two nights.
Following the failed US embassy attack, security forces arrested Jiaher Guinar, Rayson Kilala alias Rashid Kilala, Mohammad Jumao-As alias Modie and Elmer Romero alias Jamal.
A certain Yusof Macoto, who is still at large, was said to be the mastermind of the foiled bombing plot. An Imam in Tejeros Mosque in Tanza, Cavite, he is believed to be facilitating Jihad teachings.
“We are yet to uncover the circumstances surrounding this incident involving the Lanao-based Maute Group, but this discovery leads us to believe that the Maute Group has already established its presence in Metro Manila, as to what extent, that is the subject of our follow up investigation and operations,” Dela Rosa said.
“I do not want to sound alarmist or cause panic, but prudence, it has been said, is the better part of valor. I therefore urge our people to remain calm yet alert and vigilant of the presence of threat groups in our midst,” he added.
The PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) remains on high alert against any threat to peace and order and public safety.
But Col. Edgard Arevalo, chief of the AFP Public Affairs Office, said that the military has not monitored the presence of a member or members of the Maute in Metro Manila.
With Ibrahim’s arrest, Metro Manila was placed on “high security threat level.”
Part of the security measures being implemented are target hardening measures and the deployment of more troops on public places such as shopping centers, churches and transport terminals among others.