Members of the terror cell who planned the foiled attack near the US Embassy in Manila last month were found to have been communicating through their Facebook accounts and other social media platforms.
Senior Supt. Joel Napoleon Coronel, director of the Manila Police District (MPD), said they found out such scheme when they arrested the third suspect in the foiled bomb attack, identified as Mohammad Jumao-as who uses the alias Modie.
“We found out that at least two of the five suspects involved have Facebook account. They have been communicating through Facebook but we are still conducting investigation as to their messages there,” Coronel said in an interview at Camp Crame after the presentation of the suspect to the media.
“We are still verifying if the other people involved are just using aliases in Facebook,” he added.
But Coronel said it was also through Facebook that led them to Jumao-as in a hospital in Bulacan where he has been working as an X-Ray technician.
“His name was already part of our persons of interest at the time we were conducting our operations. Part of our investigation process we made is checking the social media, they are using Facebook and other platforms to disseminate their information that is why we are fortunate that he is registered as a user,” said Coronel.
At the time of Jumao-as arrest on December 3, the official said the suspect was already getting all his things from the hospital apparently to hide.
Jumao-as tried to flee using his motorcycle but he was eventually cornered after a brief chase. He allegedly yielded a .45-caliber pistol and a hand grenade.
Since the connection with two other arrested suspects – Jiaher Guinar and Rayson Kilala – were already established, appropriate charges are now being readied against Jomao-as, according to Coronel.
Director Oscar Albayalde, chief of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), said the involvement of Jumao-as was first established when he was spotted with Guinar and Kilala while doing surveillance in Luneta area prior to the discovery of the bomb on November 28.
The CCTV is installed near the Roxas Boulevard area and photo grabs from the CCTV video showed Jomao-as walking with Guinar and Kilala.
“Since the start, we know that they belong to one cell with five members in the group. He is part of those conducting casing in Luneta and those who left the IED (improvised explosive device) as shown in CCTV,” said Albayalde.
Albayalde disclosed that Jumao-as, like Kilala, is a Balik-Islam (or Muslim covert) and this made them dangerous since their recruiters appeared to be connected with radical Islam.
“Before you become a member, they will brainwash you. So there was a radical mentality before they were converted,” said Albayalde.
And based on the background check, Jumao-as has been cooperating with the terror group for four years now.
It was recalled that at the height of the bomb attacks and bomb threats in Metro Manila before, authorities found out the existence of Rajah Sulayman Movement which is composed of radical Moslem convert.
The group became the link of Mindanao-based terror groups in Luzon.
“They re very cooperative. In fact, Rashid (Kilala) has already given an extra-judicial confession assisted by counsel. He said something about the group,” said Albayalde.
The official, however, said that he could not divulge the information relayed to them by Kilala.
“We expect, hopefully that we would get the other two suspects based on his confession,” he said.
Albayalde said based on the information they received, one of the two remaining suspects who remain at large is still in Metro Manila or adjacent provinces. (AARON B. RECUENCO)