MANILA- The military on Wednesday charged before the Department of Justice (DOJ) a terror-linked Spanish national earlier arrested in Basilan.
Abdelhakim Labidi Adib, 20, was allegedly in possession of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), 2 grenades, and various IED components when he was arrested at a checkpoint in Barangay Townsite, Maluso in Basilan on Monday.
He was reported to be with an unidentified male companion who was able to flee.
Also seized from Adib were various identification cards, P8,500 in cash, and his passport. He did not deny that these items were his, but denied he was in possession of the explosives.
He also denied owning the backpack presented to the DOJ as the bag containing the explosives allegedly found in his possession.
The military accused Adib of being an Abu Sayyaf sympathizer and supporter of the establishment of an Islamic caliphate in the Philippines.
While he refused to explain what he was doing in the jungles of Basilan, Adib maintained his innocence, saying he was on his way to Zamboanga, then to Manila, and back to Spain.
"I don’t know anything about all these. In due time, the evidence will prove my innocence,” Adib said in Spanish, noting that he came to the Philippines because there are “many beautiful women here.”
He claimed he was punched by soldiers upon arrest but bore no bruises on his body when he was asked to raise his shirt.
Adib waived his right against arbitrary detention and sought a full-blown preliminary investigation. He is scheduled to submit his counter-affidavit to the DOJ on Jan. 31.
Adib, an overstaying alien, arrived in the Philippines from Switzerland on Oct. 10. His visa expired on Dec. 8.
His passport also bore stamps of Tunisia and Morocco. Aside from Manila, he said he was able to visit Davao and Cagayan de Oro City.
In the complaint affidavit, the military said intelligence operatives had received a tip that he was passing through Barangay Townsite, prompting the Philippine Army's 14th Special Forces Company and the Civilian Active Auxiliary to put up a checkpoint in the area.
His arrest came as Mindanao remained under martial rule amid a continuing terror threat following the end of firefights between state troops and Islamic State-linked terrorists in Marawi City last year.