- The AFP has denied the PNP claim that the Maute Group has established its presence in Metro Manila
- Earlier, the PNP claimed it foiled an attack by the group following the arrest of its member in Quezon City
- Nevertheless, while there is no confirmed presence, the AFP urged the public to remain vigilant as the threat from the group remains strong
MANILA, Philippines – There is no confirmed report of Maute Group presence in Metro Manila as claimed by the Philippine National Police (PNP); this was according to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Responding to a claim by PNP chief Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ Dela Rosa that the terror cell has finally established its presence in the National Capital Region (NCR) following the arrest of one of its members in Quezon City on Monday, AFP Public Affairs Office (PAO) chief Marine Colonel Edgard Arevalo said they don’t know where the PNP got its information.
“We don’t know what the PNP’s basis for them to say that the Maute Group already has presence here in Metro Manila,” said Arevalo during a press conference at Camp Aguinaldo on Tuesday, March 21.
“But we would like to ask the people to remain vigilant and always support security forces in efforts of neutralizing the enemy. Magtulungan tayo [Let us help each other], because security is everybody’s concern,” the AFP official said.
Earlier in the day, Dela Rosa said they foiled an attack by the Maute Group in the metro by arresting its member Nasip Ibrahim; one of the suspects in the failed Rizal Park bombing last year.
“This discovery leads us to believe that the Maute group has already established presence in Metro Manila,” said Dela Rosa. “As to what extent, that is the subject of our follow-up investigations and operations.”
But the AFP insisted they have consulted their people in the intelligence community and the information provided, as far as they are concerned, is that they have not monitored any activities of the group in Metro Manila.
However, while there is no threat from the Maute, the AFP acknowledged there is a continuing threat from the group that should not be dismissed.
“So far we don’t have any information on that. Our appeal to the public is for all of us to remain vigilant and help each other in ensuring the security of the metropolis,” Arevalo said.