By Jeffrey Damicog
A Spanish national suspected of being a terrorist was charged before the Department of Justice (DOJ) after government forces caught him in Basilan with a bag of improvised explosive devices (IED).
Members of the Philippine Army (PA) brought Abdelhakim Labidi Adib, 20, a Spaniard of Tunisian descent, before Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Peter Ong for inquest over a complaint for illegal possession of explosives.
“Illegal possession of explosive is a predicate of terrorism,” Ong told reporters.
“However, you still have to prove that the commission of that act is for the purpose of sowing terror, panic and extraordinary fear among the populace in order to coerce the government to lofty demands,” he explained.
Adib was arrested in the evening of January 22 by members of the PA at a checkpoint in Maluso, Basilan, an area known for the presence of members of the Abu Sayyaf group.
Though Adib’s companion who was believed to be a member of the Abu Sayyaf managed to escape, the military recovered the backpack the Spaniard threw away and found cash, a rifle grenade, blasting caps and detonation devices.
Meanwhile, Adib was given a chance to file his counter-affidavit on January 31 after he waived his right to arbitrary detention.
“For you to defend yourself during inquest, one of the requirements you have to execute under Article 125 (Revised Penal Code) you waive yung right sa arbitrary detention,” said Ong
“So you have to remain in detention habang dinedepensahan mo ang sarili mo (while you are defending yourself),” he added.
During the inquest proceedings, Adib denied owning the backpack as well as knowing his companion who managed to escape arrest.
He also claimed he got arrested last January 19 and, while in military custody, was hurt by members of the military.
It was learned that Adib arrived in the country on October 10, 2017 from Switzerland on a tourist visa which already expired last December 8.
After arriving in Manila, Adib admitted travelling to Zamboanga and then to Basilan.
The Spaniard, who has travelled to other countries including Morocco and Tunisia, said he arrived in the Philippines for a vacation and that it was his first time to come.
On the other hand, he refused to answer why he went to Mindanao.
Though he admitted he had just come out of the jungle when he got arrested, he also refused to say what he was doing inside the jungle.
Adib said when he got arrested he intended to go back to Manila for a flight back home.