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TESDA exec with alleged links to Abu Sayyaf Group nabbed

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Tuesday, June 25th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – A high-ranking official of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) was nabbed in a joint operation by soldiers and police for illegal possession of explosives in Isabela City, Basilan.

Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Regional Field Unit 9 Chief PCol. Tom Tuzon said the suspect was identified as Muida Hataman, TESDA’s provincial director based in Basilan, believed to have links with the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).

Police Colonel Bernard Banac said Hataman was arrested early morning on Tuesday (June 25) at Barangay San Rafael in Isabela City as a warrant for her arrest was being served.

Seized from the suspect several materials in making explosives such as blasting cap, chemical ingredients, four cellular phones, and two laptop devices.

“Ang suspek ay kasalukuyang nasa kustodiya ng CIDG Region 9 at sumasailalim na po sa imbestigasyon at patuloy na inaalam ang posible pang kasamahan at iba pang gamit sa pampasabog na maaari pang nakatago sa ibang lugar,” PNP Spokesperson PCol. Banac said.

(The suspect is currently under the custody of the CIDG Region 9 and is now being investigated. [Authorities] are looking into some of her possible cohorts and other explosive materials that are still being kept somewhere.)

While the CIDG already received information that Hataman is connected to an ASG sub-unit, authorities are still verifying information regarding her identity as the investigation goes on.

“Patuloy pang inaalam ng mga taga CIDG kung ano ang kanyang background, kung meron ba siyang kinalaman sa grupong ASG at (kung) mayroong kamag anak at bakit nasa possession niya ang mga naturang gamit pampasabog,” Banac said.

(CIDG personnel are still verifying her background – if she has links to the ASG, any relative and why she was in possession of bomb making paraphernalia.)

Hataman is believed to be the wife of ASG sub leader Radzmir Janatul. – (with details from Lea Ylagan)

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PNP: Liquor ban for May 13 polls to start on Sunday

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, May 10th, 2019

A 48-hour liquor ban will be imposed from May 12 to 13 in time for the Midterm National and Local Elections on Monday, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said.

The PNP said the liquor ban would take effect from 12:01 a.m. of May 12 until 12 midnight of May 13.

The ban includes drinking and selling of alcohol in stores.

“Ito ay bahagi ng ating security preparation na ipinatutupad para magkaroon tayo ng mapayapa at maayos na halalan sa Lunes,” PNP spokesperson Col. Bernard Banac said in a press briefing on Thursday.

Aside from the liquor ban, the PNP has been enforcing a gun ban, prohibiting the transportation or bearing of firearms and other deadly weapons during the election period from January 13 to June 12.

As of May 8, a total of 5,316 individuals have been arrested for violating the election gun ban, and more than 4,000 firearms and 42,000 other deadly weapons were confiscated.

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PNP conducts manhunt vs Acierto, 7 others

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Thursday, April 25th, 2019

Former police official Eduardo Acierto

The Philippine National Police (PNP) Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) has conducted a manhunt against ex-policeman Eduardo Acierto and seven others.

This was after they received the warrant of arrest ordered by the Supreme Court on Wednesday (April 24). Acierto and seven others were indicted due to their alleged involvement in the smuggling of billions worth of illegal drugs concealed inside magnetic lifters.

According to PNP Chief PGen. Oscar Albayalde, the tracker team of the CIDG has begun searching possible areas where they can find Acierto.

The seven individuals are former Customs Intelligence Officer Jimmy Guban and former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Deputy Director for Administration Ismael Fajardo; importers Chan Yee Wah, alias KC Chan; Zhou Quan, alias Zhang Quan; consignees Vedasto Cabral Baraquel Jr. and Maria Lagrimas Catipan of Vecaba Trading; and Emily Luquingan.

They are facing charges for unlawful importation of illegal drugs pursuant to Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

READ: Acierto releases matrix showing Michael Yang’s links to drug trade

Acierto linked former presidential economic adviser Michael Yang, and his business partner, Allan Lim to illegal drug trade in the country.—Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

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Duterte admin maintains ‘no ransom policy’ on Abu Sayyaf hostages

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, February 22nd, 2019

File photo: Members of the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group

QUEZON CITY, Philippines — Malacañang on Friday maintained the government’s policy of not paying ransom for the release of several hostages taken by the terrorist Abu Sayyaf group.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo issued the statement after the ASG threatened to behead a Malaysian and two Indonesian nationals held captive in Mindanao if ransoms are not paid.

“We are doing our best to secure the release of hostages (one Malaysian and two Indonesians) from the evil hands of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) but we stand firm on our no-ransom policy,” Panelo said.

Panelo explained that giving in to the demands of terrorists and other lawless groups “would embolden them to engage in more abductions,” and that it would allow them to “conduct extremist and other criminal activities as they could buy more arms and weapons.”

“The ASG continues to be on the run as a result of the order of the President to the military to crush them,” he added.

“Our security forces are hunting them in the wild forests of Mindanao to unleash their might and blow them to kingdom come,” Panelo concluded. — Robie de Guzman (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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