By Martin Sadongdong
The Philippine National Police (PNP) will exhaust all legal remedies to pursue its charges against an Egyptian national who was said to be an ISIS leader and recruiter.
Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao, PNP spokesperson, said Fehmi Lassqued is not yet off-the-hook after the Department of Justice (DOJ) junked the PNP’s charges against him including illegal possession of firearms and ammunition and illegal possession of explosives.
Similar charges against Lassqued’s Filipina girlfriend, Anabel Moncera Salipada, have also been dismissed for lack of merit.
“This is not yet final. The arresting officers can still avail of other legal remedies like filing a petition for review before the DOJ Secretary,” Bulalacao said.
“Meantime, let us just leave this first to the disposition of the investigating teams or their legal offices,” he added.
Dela Rosa said that Lassqued and Salipada were arrested by joint elements of the National Capital Region Police Office-Regional Police Intelligence Operations Unit (NCRPO-RPIOU) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) last February 16 in an apartment in Manila.
PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa said Lassqued served as a former negotiator between the ISIS leadership and local government officials in Syria and Turkey, and a former ISIS commander in the Syrian-Turkish border.
Dela Rosa added that he now serves as an active ISIS recruiter of prospected Filipino terrorist fighters.
During the arrest, Dela Rosa said the two suspects yielded assorted firearms, ammunition, components for improvised explosive device (IED), and a black ISIS flag.
However, in Lassqued’s counter-affidavit, he said that he was smoking near the Ayala Triangle Tower One in Makati City during a break of his Spanish class when he got arrested on February 16.
In a seven-page DOJ resolution, Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Peter Ong said that two photographs taken by the arresting team showed Lassqued and Salipada with the confiscated items had different backgrounds compared to the five photographs taken by the team showing the confiscated items without the suspects.
The NCRPO team said earlier that all seven photographs were taken inside the apartment unit where the suspects were supposedly arrested.