Lapses in security measures in Mindanao allowed a suspected Maute group sub-leader to slip away and live in Metro Manila for over 2 months, the head of the Philippine National Police said Monday.
"It appears na may pagkukulang kami. Accept namin 'yan, kaya nakalabas ng Mindanao at nakarating ng Maynila," PNP Director General Ronald dela Rosa said in a press briefing at Camp Crame.
"Well, martial law sa Mindanao pero nakarating dito. May pagkukulang tayo sa pagbantay sa kanila. Sa security forces sa Mindanao, hindi mo naman pwedeng i-cordon off ang buong isla ng Mindanao. Lalo pag isa isa lang, mahirap," he added.
On Saturday, Abdul Nasser Lomondot and companion Raisalam Lomondot were arrested by joint forces of the PNP and Armed Forces of the Philippines in Divisoria, Manila.
Nasser is a suspected sub-leader of the Maute group who took part in the attack of a Civilian Active Auxiliary detachment in Marantao, Lanao del Sur in 2017.
He underwent training at a local Daesh camp in Butig, the PNP said.
When accosted by arresting officers, Nasser allegedly attempted to detonate a grenade from his bag but was quickly subdued.
Raisalam created a commotion to prevent the arrest. A handgun was found inside her purse.
Dela Rosa said Nasser arrived in Manila in January this year to seek refuge and shelter with his relatives here.
"So far, lumalabas sa investigation, andito sya sa Manila since January this year, not to create havoc, but to seek refuge, dahil nga naiipit sila sa Mindanao, Martial Law, kaya sumibat d'on para mag-lie low," he said.
"The subject traveled to Manila by land and used fictitious names. At the time, he used PUVs," Manila Police District director C/Supt Joel Coronel added.
Dela Rosa said they do not discount the fact that Nasser was in Metro Manila to recruit members of the terror group.
"The mere fact na ongoing ang recruitment nila, may plano talaga sila. It will take time for them to regroup, resupply, retool, retrain themselves dahil marami ang nalagas sa kanila," said the top cop.
Nasser and Raisalam underwent inquest proceedings before the prosecutor yesterday.
Following the arrest of the two, Dela Rosa said he still would not recommend the expansion of martial law from Mindanao to Metro Manila.
"We cannot make excuses for our requests. No, we are not recommending martial law here in Metro Manila," he said.
He also told remaining Maute group members: "You can run but you can't hide."
EDITOR'S NOTE: An earlier version of this story identified one of the suspects as Raisalem Lamondot, instead of Raisalam Lomondot. We regret the error.