Security officials tell senators: Philippines in safe hands  

Cecille Suerte Felipe - The Philippine Star
Security officials tell senators: Philippines in safe hands   
Senators and security officials meet for an executive session to provide updates on the deadly blast at the Mindanao State University in Marawi City on Dec. 3.
Jesse Bustos

MANILA, Philippines — Officials of the country’s security agencies have given assurance that the Philippines is in safe hands in the aftermath of the bombing at Mindanao State University (MSU) that left four people dead and scores injured last Sunday, according to Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri.

Emerging after almost two hours of an executive session yesterday, Zubiri echoed the pronouncement of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) that persons of interest in connection with the bomb attack are now the subject of a massive manhunt.

“After the security briefing, it was shown the Philippines is in safe hands, according to the AFP and PNP,” he said.

“We got a good briefing with friends from intel service: Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro, AFP chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. and PNP chief Benjamin Acorda Jr.,” he added.

Zubiri called for an executive briefing from the agencies after an improvised explosive device ripped through the MSU gymnasium while a holy mass was being celebrated. The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the blast.

Also present in the executive session were National Intelligence Coordinating Agency Director General Ricardo de Leon, NICA Assistant Director General Theodore Libardo and National Security Adviser Eduardo Año.

Zubiri said the authorities have already persons of interest, but refused to elaborate pending further investigation.

“We’re not at liberty to divulge who. There’s a massive manhunt. They’re now securing all high-level positive threat areas where the public go to. Military and police are all over, but we are all safe,” he told Senate reporters during an interview.

The Senate president hinted that the persons of interest are not foreigners.

Despite having persons of interest, Zubiri admitted that the case is about to be considered solved.

“It can’t be said yet, but radicalization is happening again after the Marawi siege. These are relatives and friends of those who died in the Marawi siege, so we have to urge the BARMM (Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) government together with local officials to monitor this radicalization effort. That won’t go away. I think, in all situations, there is a real problem of radicalization, whether you are far right or far left, or this case is a religious radicalization. These extremists just need to be monitored and the beauty of it is that the Armed Forces and the PNP already have these persons of interest in mind and are chasing them,” he said.

“We don’t want to have any alarmist statement because we don’t want that. Because if we are alarmists, the terrorists will win. We should not be alarmed. We should not be afraid. We should go back to doing our work and leisure in the same phase. Let’s not be afraid, the Armed Forces and the PNP have it all under control,” he added.

Sen. Imee Marcos said the investigation is ongoing and authorities should be allowed to do their job.

“It’s a live investigation. It appears there’s a lot of info. Let’s allow them to investigate,” Marcos added.

2 suspected

Two suspected members of the Dawlah Islamiya Maute terrorist group are behind the bomb attack on the MSU in Marawi City, the PNP revealed yesterday.

PNP Public Information officer Col. Jean Fajardo identified the suspects Kadapi Mimbesa alias Engineer and Arsani Membisa, who is also known through his aliases Khatab, Hatab and Lapitos.

Fajardo said probers obtained the suspects’ identities through closed circuit television footage and testimonies of survivors who saw them before the explosion at the campus’ gymnasium.–  Emmanuel Tupas, John Unson

vuukle comment


  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with