MANILA - A commander and financier of the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group is set to be remanded today to the custody of the Pasig City court where he is facing multiple murder and frustrated murder charges, an official said yesterday.
Senior Superintendent Roberto Fajardo, head of the National Capital Region (NCR) of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) said it is now up to the Pasig court to determine where Khair Mundos, 50, would be detained.
“There is a big possibility that Mundos would join his Abu Sayyaf colleagues in their detention cell in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City. But it is up to the court to decide,” said Fajardo.
Mundos is temporarily detained in the Philippine National Police custodial cell at Camp Crame.
The charges were filed in connection with the raid on the Dos Palmas resort in Palawan in May 2001, wherein 20 hostages were taken.
The Abu Sayyaf killed at least five of the original hostages, including Americans Guillermo Sobero and Martin Burnham. At least 22 Filipino soldiers were killed in attempts to rescue the hostages in the year following the raid, until Burnham’s wife, Gracia, was freed in Mindanao in June 2002.
The case, initially filed in Mindanao, was transferred to the Pasig court.
Mundos – allegedly the financier and middleman in the group’s transactions with the al-Qaeda terror network, was arrested at his brother’s house on Bonifacio street in Barangay San Dionisio, Parañaque City Wednesday.
Fajardo said Mundos, who admitted being a former commander of the Abu Sayyaf, allegedly receives money from al-Qaeda to finance the Abu Sayyaf’s terror activities.
A laptop computer was recovered by police and military bomb experts who conducted a sweep of the compound where Mundos was arrested.
“The bomb search was negative but a laptop computer was recovered,” Southern Police District director Chief Superintendent Jose Erwin Villacorte told The STAR.
A source said the owner of the house agreed to have the bomb experts search Mundos’ room.
Barangay San Dionisio is located near the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1.
Relocation awaits informants?
Mundos carries a $500,000 bounty on his head offered by the United States justice department for his alleged involvement in the Dos Palmas raid.
According to a report by the Voice of America in May last year, the US Reward for Justice program is “prepared to protect informants by relocating them.”
Mundos was arrested in 2004 but his colleagues sprung him from jail in Kidapawan City, Cotabato in 2007.
“Since his escape from jail in 2007, he sought refuge with his relatives in Metro Manila to escape the heat in Mindanao,” Fajardo said.
The CIDG official said Mundos’ arrest came following two months of surveillance. – With Perseus Echeminada