Gamboa orders probe of terror group’s operation in Metro Manila

PHILIPPINE National Police chief, General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa, has ordered  massive investigation of the financial activities and other operational network of an ISIS-inspired group in Metro Manila which was believed to have been crippled following an operation in Parañaque City on Friday morning which left four suspects dead.

The PNP chief also declared the readiness of the PNP to address security concerns and threats to peace following the raid at the suspected terror group cell  in Barangay Don Bosco, Parañaque City which came in the wake of a Palace statement that President Duterte favors the 14-day detention of suspected terrorists under the proposed Anti-Terror Bill.

Security officials and Senators Vicente C. Sotto III, Panfilo ‘Ping’ M. Lacson and Ronald ‘Bato’ M. dela Rosa also defended the approval of the Anti-Terrorism Law amid claims by the opposition and progressive groups and personalities it would be used as a weapon against them saying that all safeguards are in place under the new law to protect civil liberties.

Gen. Gamboa extended the PNP’s commendation to the National Capital Region Police Office headed by Major Gen. Debold M. Sinas and the PNP Intelligence Group headed by Brigadier Gen. Joseph Ulysses C. Gohel for leading the raid at the suspects’ safehouse which resulted in the death of the four and the wounding of a member of the raiding team identified as Corporal Ehrol Gamboa of the NCPRO Regional Special Operations Group.

The PNP chief has ordered a complete investigation into circumstances surrounding the presence of these known Abu Sayyaf Group-Daulah Islamiyah suspects in Metro Manila.

Members of the PNP-IG, the NCRPO, the  Armed Forces and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency stormed the suspects’ safehouse at Block 5, Lot 4, Annex 46 in Better Living Subdivision on the strength of a search warrant for violation of Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulations Act of 2013 issued by Judge Noemi Balitaan of the Parañaque City Regional Trial Court Branch 258, said Brig. Gen. Gohel.

The official said that during the raid, the targets identified as Merhama Abdul Sawari alias ‘Mheng,’  Bensaudi  Sali alias ‘Bhenz,’  Rasmin Hussin and Jamal Kalimming resisted and lobbed a grenade at the officers before firing shots at them.

Cpl. Gamboa was shot on both legs during the initial volley of fire and was taken to St. Lukes Global City for treatment.

Recovered inside the raided place were three blasting caps, different kinds of wife, two bottles containing suspected explosive materials, two caliber .45 pistols, one cal. .38 revolver, one cal. 5.56 revolver,  one M-16 automatic rifle, dozens of live ammunition, two black ISIS flags,  two hand grenades, a plastic container with suspected explosive ingredients, an improvised firing device and a 9-volt battery.

A record check showed that Sawari is a native of Jolo, Sulu married to Sali, a suspected Abu Sayyaf Group member who managed to find work as a security guard at Lancris Residence in Parañaque City.

Both were tagged as the ‘financial conduit’ of Daesh-East Asia in the country involved in the solicitation of funds, coordination, and planning of terrorist activities.

The couple were confirmed to have connection with Daulah Islamiyah bomb expert and sub-leader Mundi Sawadjaan alias Abu Marwan, one of the key planners of the twin bombing attack of Jolo Cathedral by an Indonesian couple-turned suicide bombers on January 27, 2019 and the suicide bombing attack at an AFP detachment in Indanan, Sulu on June 28, 2019.

Sawari is also connected with the Daesh-East Asia operating in the Philippines,

Officials said the presence of members of Daulah Islamiyah Khatiba Sulu under Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan in Parañaque City has something to do with the coordination and planning of terrorist activities of the group.

There were also information that they are engaged in firearms trafficking.