By MARTIN A. SADONGDONG
The remaining terrorists evading military and police operations in Mindanao are slipping into Metro Manila and other parts of the country to seek refuge in their relatives’ homes, according to the Philippine National Police (PNP).
PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa made the revelation after he presented Abdul Nasser Lomondot alias Mohhamad, 41, the alleged sub-leader of the Maute Group. He is a resident of Sitio Pansor, Barangay Mamaanon Piagapo, Lanao del Sur.
Lomondot was arrested along with his wife, Raisalam, 33, by members of the Manila Police District (MPD) and military intelligence agents on Claro M. Recto Avenue in Divisoria, Tondo, Manila last Saturday.
Raisalam requested to be admitted to the Ospital ng Maynila yesterday after complaining of stomach pains.
“Our initial investigation showed that they have been here in Manila not to create havoc but to seek refuge. The on-going martial law forced them to escape and go to Metro Manila to lie low,” Dela Rosa told reporters.
Lomondot, according to the MPD, took part in the “killing of innocent Christians and committed violence against female and child hostages during the siege in Marawi City last year.”
Lomondot, who allegedly trained at a local Daesh camp in Butig, Lanao del Sur, was also tagged in the attack of a Civilian Active Auxiliary (CAA) detachment in Barangay Mantapoli, Marantao, Lanao del Sur, at the height of the Marawi siege, Dela Rosa said.
Dela Rosa further disclosed that Lomondot attempted to detonate a grenade from his bag during his arrest but pursuing officers immediately subdued him.
“His wife, Raisalam, created a commotion to prevent the arrest and was found in possession of a handgun in her purse,” he said.
Dela Rosa said the Lomondot couple was presented before the Manila Prosecutor’s Office for inquest proceedings on Sunday for illegal possession of firearms and explosives charges.
The Lomondot couple’s arrest came more than two weeks after an Egyptian man identified as Fehmi Lassqued, an alleged ISIS leader-recruiter, was arrested in Manila.
ESCAPE TO MANILA
According to Chief Superintendent Joel Coronel, MPD director, the couple traveled to Manila by land using public utility vehicles (PUVs) and arrived in January.
They were then monitored in the area of Divisoria in Tondo, Manila, from February 20 to 28, and at C.M. Recto Avenue and Dagupan Street, where they reportedly sought refuge from a relative, from March 1 to 3.
Dela Rosa warned the public, especially the relatives of the terrorists who are coddling them, saying “providing shelter to a terrorist constitutes a criminal act and is punishable by the law.”
With the implementation of martial law in Mindanao, Dela Rosa admitted that there were some security lapses on the part of the police, the reason why the Lomondot couple managed to slip past the military and police.
“It is really hard to cover the whole island of Mindanao and if the terrorists are escaping one by one, it is really difficult for us. If it appears that we have lapses, we accept it. We have lapses but what’s important is that we arrested them through continuous monitoring,” he said.