By Martin Sadongdong
The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) might have just foiled a potential terror attack after it revealed Friday the arrest of an alleged terrorist in Quiapo, Manila on Christmas Day, December 25, 2018.
In a statement sent to reporters, NCRPO Director Guillermo Eleazar identified the suspect as Jeran Aba alias “Paito Pangadaman Liwal’g” and “Abu Sinan,” an alleged member of the Dawlah Islamiyah (DI), an Islamic State (ISIS)-inspired terror group based in Mindanao which is believed to be behind some of the recent bombing incidents in the country.
Eleazar said Aba was apprehended by patrolling members of the Manila Police District (MPD) along Quezon Boulevard corner Norzagaray Street in Quiapo, Manila last December 25, 2018.
According to reports, it was the village officials who spotted Aba with a pistol tucked in his waist while he was getting off a tricycle.
Alarmed, the officials reported the sighting to cops who happened to be passing by the area.
The patrolling cops confronted Aba and invited him to a police precinct for questioning. However, the suspect allegedly resisted arrest.
Police were forced to confiscate Aba’s gun and as they frisked him, they also discovered that he has a grenade in his possession, Eleazar said.
Aba was immediately brought to the police station where cops learned about his identity.
Upon further interrogation, Eleazar bared that Aba admitted being a former member of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in 2016. He also informed them of his participation in the Maute Terror Group-led seige in Marawi City in 2017.
“He was planning to conduct an IED [improvised explosive device] attack in the NCR during the holiday season and incoming festivals,” Eleazar said in the statement.
If Aba was arrested more than two weeks ago, why did the NCRPO only announced the arrest now?
A police source who refused to be identified said the delay in the announcement of the terror suspect’s arrest was because the NCRPO wanted to avoid “unnecesary panic” among the public, especially since it happened on Christmas Day and the Traslacion procession in Quiapo — which was attended by millions of devotees — had just finished.
Aba was charged for violating Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act; RA 9516 or Illegal Possession of Explosives; and resisting arrest.
Prior to Aba’s arrest, the NCRPO also arrested another terror suspect identified as Sudais Asmad alias “Sen,” “Abu Nas,” “Suhud,” and “Jul” on December 20 in Binondo, Manila.
Asmad was said to be a member of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and serves as its liasion officer and escort/guide of “Balik Islam” (Muslim reverts) from Luzon to Basilan.