By Ali G. Macabalang
Kidapawan City – For lack of evidence and on the intercession of a cabinet official, police and military authorities freed 11 individuals arrested before dawn Monday on suspicion of possessing two homemade bombs and other explosives at a house inside the Mindanao State University (MSU) main campus in Marawi City, the MSU leadership disclosedTuesday.
“They (11 arrested persons) were released because they were found out to be legitimate professionals and business people, not terrorists as suspected,” MSU president Dr. Habib Macaayong told The Manila Bulletin over the phone.
Macaayong said the Marawi City-based Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade, which coordinated the raid with the Philippine National Police (PNP) Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) elements, released the 11 persons a few hours after their arrest.
He said the suspects’ release followed a call from Presidential Adviser on Overseas Affairs and Muslim Concerns Abdullah Mama-o, who vouched for the innocence of the arrested individuals.
Macaayong added the house raided by CIDG and Army operatives past 12 a.m. Monday was owned by Sacar Macadindang, a registered engineer working in Saudi Arabia who went home early this month to attend to the graduation of his child at the MSU main campus last January 25.
The graduation ceremony was graced by PNP Director General Ronald Dela Rosa, who had studied in MSU for three years until 1982.
Macaayong said the MSU security group and the provincial police office were pursing witnesses’ accounts that the two homemade bombs and other ammunition purportedly discovered at the house of Macadindang were “planted.”
He did not discount the possibility that the raid could be part of a series of smear campaigns aimed at discrediting the present MSU leadership.
“There still are some people trying to discredit our administration, dreaming to grab (MSU) leadership,” he said.
Macaayong cited as another possible “destabilization plot” the case of two civilian visitors of the MSU campus who have reportedly remained missing, including their brand new van since January 26 after attending the graduation rites.
He named the visitors as Boboy and Thelma Bagnol. The two were believed to have been held up while traveling from Marawi City to Iligan City, he said.