The Daily Manila Shimbun


AFP validating PNP report Maute Group is in Metro Manila

March 22, 2017

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) admitted the threat level by the Maute Brothers Group in Metro Manila is still unknown even as police confirmed their presence in the metropolis. “The level of threat is still unknown to me or unknown to us because the discussion is still on-going,” General Restituto Padilla, AFP spokesman, told reporters in Camp Aguinaldo Wednesday when asked about the level of threat by the Maute Group in Metro Manila. “It is not important if there is a threat or not. What is important is our readiness. I cannot answer you because we do not yet have the data. So whatever the police has announced that is (there information) and that is clear, so now we are coordinating with them and it will be clear because we have what we call intelligence fusion....,” Padilla added. After saying  Tuesday there is no presence of the Maute Group in Metro Manila, AFP Public Information Chief Col. Edgard Arevalo said on Wednesday the military are validating the reports of the Philippine National Police (PNP). “What we are saying is that we are validating the report from the PNP, but like what we have mentioned, we cannot discount the possibility the members of the Maute Group that is now subject of our operations in central Mindanao will do or their supporters may do diversionary attacks, diversionary tactics to ease up our on-going intensive operations in Central Mindanao,” he added. “They (PNP) have their own basis. They have at hand pertinent information at that time for them to make that conclusion. What we are saying now is there is a possibility that this group will be there to conduct diversionary attacks and that is something that we are being prepared about...,” he added. Just last Tuesday, Dela Rosa expressed belief the Maute Group “has already established presence in Metro Manila”. Dela Rosa made his statement after police and military operatives arrested a certain Nasip Ibrahim who is allegedly involved in the attempted bombing in US embassy last year. After the arrest of Nasip and the recovery of several war materials from his possession,  Director Oscar Albayalde of the National Capital Region Police Office stand firm in their belief about the existence of threat group in Metro Manila. “The presence of threat groups in Philippines, specifically Metro Manila is imminent and we made sure to address this through target hardening measures, police operation efforts and strong public engagement,” Albayalde said. “The successive arrest we made, recovery of IEDs and firearms for the past months is substantial proof on the existence of threat groups here in Metro Manila,” he said. “It is our goal to make sure that our citizenry are kept informed not to sow fear but to maintain public vigilance. We maintain our position in the existence of these terrorist groups and we will not stop our police operations against them. We shall continue implementing the policy direction of the President Rodrigo Roa Duterte towards peace and security,” Albayalde added. (Robina Asido/DMS)