The Daily Manila Shimbun


Trader allegedly fronting for the Maute group arrested in Quezon City

October 27, 2017

Authorities have arrested a trader allegedly fronting for the Maute terrorist group in a law enforcement operation in Novaliches, Quezon City on Thursday.

Chief Superintendent Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, Quezon City police director, identified the suspect as Rasdy Malawani alias Rasdi Macabangkit/Makabanket, 42.

A military source said the operation that led to the arrest of Malawani was led by National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) in National Capital Region (NCR) supported by the QCPD and military naval intelligence group.

Source also confirmed that the arrest of Malawani is part of the security preparations for the coming Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit meeting next month.

“Yes, (that is) part of disruption operation of NICA, it was led by NICA-NCR supported QCPD and military naval intelligence,” the source said when asked if the arrest is related to the security preparation for ASEAN summit.

Eleazar said Malawani has been under surveillance for some time to confirm information he was fronting for Ominta Romato Maute, alias Farhana of the Maute-ISIS inspired terrorist group, in managing her Salaam Bazaar in Novaliches Plaza Mall.

The bazaar was identified as a source of financing of the terrorist group in Marawi City.

He said Farhana, the mother of Maute brothers who led the Marawi siege, is detained at the Bicutan Jail, after being arrested in Brgy. Kormatan, Masiu, Lanao Del Sur last June 2017.

“The intelligence operation established that the suspect was indeed running the bazaar and collecting rents from stallholders that he remitted to someone in Marawi City which was later traced to Azesha/Azezza Macabangtit/Macabangkit-Maute, alias Lily, the wife of Madie Maute who was among the architects of the Marawi Siege,” he added.

Eleazar said the suspect was arrested after the recovery of materials in his house during the serving of the search warrant issued by the Quezon City Regional Trial Court.

“After obtaining a warrant from Branch. 89 of the Quezon City RTC to search the suspect’s residence at Blk. 4 Lot 2, Marytown Circle, Greenfields I, Brgy Kaligayahan, Novaliches, the operatives swooped down on the place at 6:25 a.m., October 26, 2017,” he said.

Eleazar said the government authorities seized an unlicensed Colt cal. 45 pistol with five ammunition, a rocket-propelled grenade and numerous bank transaction receipts during the operation.

“Witnessing the search were Farouk Malawani, the father of the suspect, Brgy. Captain Freddy Roxas, and Brgy. Kagawad Arnel Gabito,” he said.

Eleazar said that  further investigation showed Malawani’s wife, identified as Princess Makabangkit-Malawani, alias Junaida or Jonairah, is the sister of Madie Maute’s wife Azesha/Azezza Makabangtit/Makabangkit-Maute.

“They are mutually associated with another Maute member identified as Jerry Maute who arrived in Quezon City on November 2016 and stayed with Rasdy (Malawani) in Novaliches,” he said.

“Also, Rasdy and Azesha Maute met at the Novaliches Plaza Mall and stayed for a while at Rasdy’s residence sometime in October 2016,” he added.

Eleazar said “another Maute member identified as Tura Marohom Maute, believed to be a relative of the Maute patriarch, Engr. Cayamura Maute, was also seen at Rasdy’s residence in Novaliches last October 2016 before he left allegedly for bomb and explosive training in Malaysia or Saudi Arabia.”

He noted that “the arrest of the suspect who was already inquested for violation of R.A 10591 will cripple the business at the Novaliches Plaza Mall run by the Malawani for the Maute matriarch which was a significant source of the terrorist group’s finances.”

Despite the arrest of Malawani, NCRPO Director Oscar Albayalde said there is no eminent danger monitored within Metro Manila.

“Yes, as of this time we haven’t monitored clear and present danger on any imminent terror attack here in Metro Manila. But we assume the terror threat here in Metro Manila is always high so that we will not be complacent and we will be always on our toes,” he said.

“What we see now are indications that there are sympathizers and supporters of Maute here in Metro Manila,” he added.

Albayalde assured that despite the presence of these terrorist supporters, Philippine authorities are all prepared to secure leaders and delegates attending the ASEAN summit next month.

“Despite these series of arrest, Metro Manila remains peaceful and we are very much ready to receive the 22 leaders in the upcoming ASEAN Summit and also the 3,000 delagates with them,” he said. Robina Asido/DMS