DNA test confirms death of last Marawi siege terrorist leader Abu Dar

Marje Pelayo   •   April 15, 2019   •   1843

Maute-Isis leader Abu Dar

MANILA, Philippines – Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Monday (April 15) said a DNA test from the United States authorities confirmed the death of Maute-ISIS leader Abu Dar.

“It is confirmed. It is Abu Dar’s remains,” Lorenzana said in a text message to UNTV News.

Col. Romeo Brawner Jr., Commander of the 103rd IB Haribon Brigade in an interview said the DNA results are indeed conclusive.

“The results were given to us by our US counterparts. We were assisted by the United States in confirming the DNA sample that they got from the cadaver of Abu Dar with those of his sons. So, yes. There is positive confirmation that Abu Dar, who was killed during the operation conducted last March 14,” Col. Brawner said.

The official said Abu Dar was the last remaining leader of the Maute-ISIS group who planned and staged the Marawi siege.

He was among the 10 terrorist leaders shown in a recovered video footage planning for the plot in Marawi City along with ISIS emir Isnilon Hapilon.

For two years, he had been in hiding and it was only in March this year that the military was able to neutralize him.

“This means that the Daulah Islamiyah, the new name of the Maute-ISIS group, will finally be ended with the death of their leader,” the military commander said.

As for his replacement, Brawner said the next in rank to Abu Dar is Abu Zacharia, a little-known Maute leader who, unlike his predecessor, is not a religious leader and “doesn’t have full influence in the entire group.”

Secretary Lorenzana, meanwhile, said they have no information yet as to who is currently leading the remaining Maute terrorists who are still in hiding.

“Well, for now his group is leaderless. We are monitoring who will replace Dar,” Lorenzana said.

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) welcomes the confirmation of the reported death of Abu Dar, whose complete name was Owaydah Marohombsar.

“This is a significant development in the government’s continuing campaign against terrorism and domestic threat groups,” PNP Chief Police General Oscar Albayalde said in a statement.

Government security forces clashed with members of the Maute terror group on March 14 in Tubaran, Lanao del Sur.

Abu Dar was among the five terrorists killed in the said encounter, the PNP Chief said. – Marje Pelayo

Withdrawal of support for Duterte, fake news — DND

Maris Federez   •   April 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of National Defense has denounced what it called “the irresponsible propaganda” that has been making rounds on social media which alleged that a group of retired and active military officers is withdrawing their support for President Rodrigo Duterte.

“This is fake news! I am not, and will never be, a part of any such group — neither are the officials at the Department of National Defense, many of whom are also retired military officers,” DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a statement issued on Sunday (April 18).

Lorenzana stressed that “such disinformation is an act of reckless agitation emanating from detractors, who have a limited and myopic appreciation of issues.”

The Defense chief urged what he called “destabilizers” to stop issuing such malicious propaganda amid the uncertainties brought by the coronavirus disease pandemic.

“We call on these destabilizers to cease from propagating malicious statements especially at a time when our people should all be coming together in the face of the challenges that we are all currently facing. You are not helping our country and people at all,” Lorenzana’s statement concluded. —/mbmf

Defense chief Lorenzana contracts COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   April 6, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines – Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Tuesday confirmed he has tested positive for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“I will be undergoing isolation following the quarantine guidelines to avoid infecting others,” he said in a statement.

The 72-year old Lorenzana, who also heads the government’s National Task Force against COVID-19, said he was not experiencing any symptoms.

“Those who have been exposed to me have been informed. They have been advised to isolate and get tested for COVID-19 as well,” he said.

Lorenzana assured that his department will continue to operate with a skeleton workforce “to ensure continuity of service, with the prescribed health protocols strictly enforced.”

He also reminded the public to continue observing government-mandated health protocols to prevent the further transmission of the virus.

“I would like to remind everyone that the threat of the virus is as real as ever, more so now due to the new variants,” he said. “Let us all cooperate and abide by the prescribed health protocols to help in curbing the spread of COVID-19.”

Chinese Embassy responds to Lorenzana’s ‘perplexing statement’ on Julian Felipe Reef

Marje Pelayo   •   April 4, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Chinese Embassy in the Philippines on Saturday (April 3) reacted to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana’s statement reiterating his demand for China to remove its vessels from Julian Felipe Reef in the West Philippine Sea.

The Embassy said it has noted Lorenzana’s remarks on alleged Chinese incursions into the Philippine territory saying it was a “perplexing statement.”

The Chinese Embassy stressed that Philippine officials should “avoid any unprofessional remarks which may further fan irrational emotions.”

Lorenzana in his statement called on the Chinese Ambassador to explain why “still forty-four Chinese vessels” are in the Julian Felipe Reef based on the military’s latest maritime and aerial surveillance.

“I am no fool. The weather has been good so far, so they have no other reason to stay there. These vessels should be on their way out. Umalis na kayo diyan, (Leave the area,)” Lorenzana said.

In response, the Chinese Embassy in Manila on its Facebook page wrote that it was only normal for Chinese vessels to be in the area claiming that Julian Felipe Reef is part of China thus it is named in Chinese “Niu’e Jiao”.

“The Niu’e Jiao is part of China’s Nansha Islands. The waters around Niu’e Jiao has been a traditional fishing ground for Chinese fishermen for many years. The Chinese fishermen have been fishing in the waters for their livelihood every year. It is completely normal for Chinese fishing vessels to fish in the waters and take shelter near the reef during rough sea conditions,” it said.

“Nobody has the right to make wanton remarks on such activities,” it added.

The Philippines has again lodged a diplomatic protest against China unequivocally stating the country’s stand on the issue.

“We, again, reiterate our demand for the Chinese to leave our sovereign territories and abide by international law,” Lorenzana said in his statement.

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