Stopping ‘’local terror groups” key to peaceful plebiscite: PNP
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Oscar Albayalde on Friday said local terrorist groups in Mindanao are the “major challenge” for police and military in Monday’s Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) plebiscite next week.
“The threat that we really see here is local terror groups especially those who are affiliated with ISIS who wish to disrupt the conduct of plebiscite,” Albayalde said in a press conference in Cotabato City.
“This is the biggest challenge for us on how we can stop them,” he added.
Albayade made the remark after regional police director Eliseo Rasco said a member of local terrorist group, Ansar Al-Khilafa Philippines was arrested morning of January 15.
The arrested member was identified as Abubakar Pagayao alias Jing Pagayao or Kario who has an arrest warrant. Pagayao was under the group’s leader Jaafar Magud.
“During inquest, he admitted being a member of Ansar Al-Khilafa Philippines, a local ISIS group… He has no admission or he has not admitted any participation in the (2016) Davao bombing but his admission was on his membership with AAP,” Rasco said.
“We are still monitoring other members but as of now, we have not monitored anything but the arrest of Pagayao is a big thing because we don’t know the reason he is here. Maybe he has a plan,” he added.
Rasco said they received intelligence reports about Pagayao.
“We pre-empted the plan of AAP to do terror acts on the upcoming election,” he said.
About the mall bombing in Cotabato City on New Year’s Eve, police still has to identify the other suspect.
“Hopefully our people here can identify the person who brought the plastic that contains the bomb,” said Albayalde. The other suspect is still in police custody.
Albayalde reminded the public to be vigilant. Ella Dionisio/DMS