PNP on red alert vs Sayyaf reprisal
- Jaime Laude () - October 30, 2005 - 12:00am
The Philippine National Police (PNP) placed its entire force on red alert on the possibility of retaliatory attacks a day after an Indonesian senior member of the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and two Abu Sayyaf bandits were sentenced to death by a Makati City court for the Valentine’s Day bombings in that city.

PNP chief Director General Arturo Lomibao said a heightened alert status is also aimed at ensuring the safety of the public during the long holidays celebrating All Saint’s Day.

Lomibao ordered a full alert after a prosecutor in the case warned of retaliatory attacks following the death verdict.

State Prosecutor Emmanuel Velasco said there were intelligence reports that the Abu Sayyaf "plans to bomb Metropolitan Manila in retaliation for whatever decision is handed out."

On Friday, the Makati City regional trial court sentenced to death Indonesian national Rohmat Abdurrohim and Abu Sayyaf members Abu Khalil Trinidad and Gammal Baharan after finding them guilty of multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder charges in the Feb. 14 bombing in the city this year that killed four people and wounded more than a hundred others.

The Abu Sayyaf claimed responsibility for the bombing, as well as two other simultaneous bomb attacks in Davao City and General Santos City, in retaliation for the intensified military offensives against the rebels.

Officials hailed the decision since it marked the first time that the government had convicted a member of the Indonesian-based JI terror network.

"The PNP hails the conviction of the three terrorists and we will continue our vigilance against possible retaliation, especially this Undas (All Saints’ Day) para ’di tayo malusutan (so they cannot pull one over us)," PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Leopoldo Bataoil said.

"At 6 a.m. today (yesterday) a heightened alert was declared nationwide and will be maintained or raised to full alert if necessary until after the Undas," Bataoil said.

Bataoil explained that under the PNP’s heightened security scheme, 50 percent of the total police force will be on full-duty status while the rest will be on call.

Bataoil said police regional commanders are under orders to make themselves "highly visible" in public places during the observance of All Saints’ Day where people are expected to trek to the cemeteries and churches to pay their respects to their departed.

"We will conduct high-visibility operations in crowded places such as cemeteries, bus terminals, seaports, airports and roads leading to the provinces and tourist destinations," Bataoil said.

To ensure the safety of the public, Bataoil revealed the PNP will be implementing a three-tiered defense system, with particular security emphasis against terrorists.

He said the three-tiered defense system will include intelligence operations, target hardening and incident management.

ABU KHALIL TRINIDAD AND GAMMAL BAHARAN ABU SAYYAF ALL SAINT ALL SAINTS BATAOIL CHIEF SUPERINTENDENT LEOPOLDO BATAOIL DAVAO CITY AND GENERAL SANTOS CITY DIRECTOR GENERAL ARTURO LOMIBAO JEMAAH ISLAMIYAH MAKATI CITY
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