4 suspected Abu Sayyaf members killed in Parañaque raid

Robie de Guzman   •   June 26, 2020   •   725

MANILA, Philippines – Four suspected members of terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) were killed in a raid launched by government security forces in Don Bosco, Parañaque City past Friday midnight.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) identified the suspects as Bensaudi Sali alias “Boy,” his wife Merhama Abdul Sawari alias “Mheng,” Rasin Hussin alias “Boscon,” and Jamal Kalliming alias “Pando.”

According to National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) regional director Major General Debold Sinas, the four suspects died during the raid jointly conducted by elements from the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Sinas said the team tried to serve a search warrant at the house of the suspects in Better Living Subdivision at 12:26 a.m. when the suspects engaged law enforcers in a firefight.

The security forces retaliated which eventually led to the killing of the suspects.

The police and military said the operation stemmed from the information they received about the presence of members of Daulah Islamiyah, who were tagged as a financial conduit of Daesh-East Asia, in Parañaque City.

Daulah Islamiyah is a faction of the ASG that is affiliated with the Islamic State.

The search warrant against the suspects was issued by Judge Noemi Balitaan of the Parañaque City Regional Trial Court Branch 258 for violation of Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act.

According to reports from the AFP and the PNP, the suspects’ profiles are as follows:

  • Sali was tagged as a member of ASG/Daulah Islamiyah in Sulu. He was a native of Jolo and had been working as a security guard in a residential condominium in Parañaque.
  • His wife, Sawari was tagged as ASG/Daulah Islamiyah-Sulu group’s finance and logislitics facilitator. She was said to be the recipient of money remittance from Indonesian ISEA facilitator Yoga Fabrianto who was arrested in Sabah on June 2019.
  • Hussin and Kalliming, who were also both working as security guards like Sali, were alleged cohorts of the two ASG members.

The military said that after the operation, authorities recovered from the site three blasting caps, different kinds of wire, two bottles of white and brownish granules (suspected explosives), two revolvers and two pistols with live ammunition, two black ISIS flags, two hand grenades, one M16 rifle, and one electric match.

The PNP said the encounter also resulted in the wounding of Police Corporal Ehrol Gamboa, who is now receiving treatment for the gunshot wounds he sustained on both legs.

PNP chief Police General Archie Gamboa said crime scene investigators are thoroughly sifting through the recovered evidence while a complete investigation has been ordered into the circumstances surrounding the presence of the alleged Abu Sayyaf members in Metro Manila. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

Duterte names PH Army commanding general Gapay as next AFP chief

Robie de Guzman   •   July 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has designated Lieutenant General Gilbert Gapay as the next chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

According to a document addressed to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Duterte signed Gapay’s appointment letter on Tuesday, July 28.

Gapay is the current commanding general of the Philippine Army.

His designation will take effect on August 3.

Gapay will replace AFP chief General Felimon Santos Jr. who is leaving the service as he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 56 on August 4.

4 PAF personnel dead after helicopter crash in Isabela

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 24, 2020

Four members of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) perished in a helicopter crash in Cauayan City, Isabela on Thursday (July 23).

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said five personnel were onboard the Huey Helicopter. They were conducting proficiency training for night flying in the vicinity of the Tactical Operations Group-2 area in Cauayan City when the accident happened.

“The two pilots, the other officer, and one of the two aircrew perished. The other airman survived the crash and is now undergoing treatment,” the AFP said in a statement.

The names of the victims are withheld until their relatives have been notified, the AFP added.

Meanwhile, AFP Chief General Felimon Santos, Jr. expresses deep grief and extends condolences and prayers to the families and colleagues of the airmen who perished in this air operations mishap. AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

PNP to SONA protesters: Just do it online

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 21, 2020

The Philippine National Police (PNP) is urging protesters planning to hold rallies on the day of President Rodrigo Duterte’s 5th State of the Nation Address (SONA) to just stage their protests online.

PNP Chief PGen. Archie Gamboa said the PNP is always at maximum tolerance and reiterated that everyone is entitled to freedom of expression.

However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, mass gatherings are discouraged to prevent the further spread of the virus.

Nakikiusap lang kami na kung pwede (We are only asking if it would be possible to) just do it online because these are not ordinary times,” he said.

Gamboa also said they are coordinating with militant leaders to urge them not to hold street protests. He also assured that the PNP has prepared the security for the 5th SONA of the president.

So ngayon ang mga traffic at security plan within and outside of the Batasang Pambansa ay firmed up na po at itong Wednesday magkakaroon kami ng final conference regarding po dito sa security preparations, (For now the traffic and security plans within and outside of the Batasang Pambansa has been firmed up. This Wednesday we will have a final conference regarding security preparations),” according to PNP Director and Directorate for Operations PMGen. Emmanuel Licup. AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

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