San Juan cop chief confirms terror plot

By Ron Gagalac, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 04 2010 12:56 AM | Updated as of Nov 04 2010 06:52 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The police chief of San Juan confirmed on Wednesday the veracity of an intelligence report that warned of a possible terrorist attack in the city.

Police Senior Superintendent Procopio Lipana said he received the information sometime in April or May this year. 

From then on, police started monitoring Muslim communities in San Juan. 

Lipana, however, clarified that despite the intelligence report from the government’s Office for Transportation Security (OTS), police have not seen any significant indication that such terror activities would happen now or in the near future. 

"Nakikipag-ugnayan na kami with the Muslim leaders, but up to this time wala kami nakikita na significant indications of any terror activity," he said. 

This does not mean that they are taking the information for granted, he added. 

Lipana has ordered the city police Explosive and Ordnance Division to conduct daily inspections of the vital installations in San Juan, including the Muslim communities in the city.

San Juan was mentioned in an intelligence report by the OTS, a unit of the Department of Transportation and Communication, as the target of a terror attack that could be launched anytime between October and December.   

The report also mentioned the possibility that terror cells will be established in the city’s Muslim communities. 

The same allegedly happened before the 2005 Valentine’s Day bombing wherein the perpetrators allegedly set up a safehouse in San Juan.

Lipana, however, does not have any clue as to why San Juan was picked as the haven of terrorists. 

He warned that any terror group will find it hard to establish cells in San Juan since the community and its officials are vigilant in reporting suspicious characters and their movements in the city. 

“We are approaching this with community empowerment, medyo mahihirapan sila dito dahil [sa] lugar ito, ang mamamayan ay may pakialam,” he said. 

Lipana added that while San Juan was picked as a terror target, this does not mean that other Metro Manila cities will be spared from terror attacks. "Kung possible sa San Juan iyan, possible din in other areas."