MANILA - Senior police officials on Wednesday said Metro Manila remains safe from terror attacks following the leak of a confidential memorandum alerting security units on alleged plans of the Maute group to mount bombings in the region.
"We have not monitored any terror group here in Metro Manila. We have many intelligence operatives focusing on the region," Metro Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde said in an interview on ABS-CBN's "Umagang Kay Ganda."
The memo, allegedly from the Station Intelligence Branch (SIB) of the Valenzuela police, said some 14 Maute fighters were allegedly planning to bomb parts of Quezon City, Manila and Makati City.
Albayalde said the memo, which circulated on social media and other platforms, contained information that had not been validated.
"That was for validation, that report was not confirmed. It's only normal for us to cascade such reports to lower units for validation and confirmation, and also so that they could prepare just in case the information were true," he said.
The threat has turned out to be negative, added Chief Supt. Roberto Fajardo, director of the Northern Police District, which has jurisdiction over the Valenzuela police.
"As of now po -- kasi ang information is changing po iyan everyday -- as of now, negative po iyun," Fajardo said in a separate radio DZMM interview.
(As of now -- because information changes everyday -- as of now, it is negative)
Fajardo however denied knowledge of another purported memo from the PNP Aviation Security Group, which supposedly also warned of a terror threat.
"Sa inyo ko pa lang po natanggap iyan. Pero sabi ko nga po, raw intel po iyun at tsismis so iba-validate pa rin namin iyan," he said.
(I have only heard of that from DZMM. But as I've said, that is raw intelligence and hearsay, so we are still validating that.)
Both Fajardo and Albayalde said police investigators are now looking into how the Valenzuela police memo was leaked.
"Baka po ang nagkakalat lang niyan ay kung sino-sino para lang mapakita na itong mga Maute na ito, terror groups na ito ay already all over," Albayalde said.
(Those who spread it may have wanted to show that these Maute members and terror groups have already spread all over.)
The spread of the memo came as state troops battled Maute fighters who have laid a siege on Marawi City some 3 weeks ago.