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Police arrest alleged member of militant Islamist group

By Kristine L. Alave, Alcuin Papa
Inquirer
First Posted 01:57:00 08/03/2007

Filed Under: Human Rights, Police, rebellion, Islam, Moro, Acts of terror, Armed conflict, Local authorities

MANILA, Philippines ? Ricardo Ayeras, alleged founding member of the militant Islamist group Rajah Solaiman Movement, was arrested by the police Sunday in his residence in Mandaluyong City.

According to a report from the Eastern Police District of the Philippine National Police, the suspect, who allegedly also uses the names Abdul Kareem Ayeras, Jay Perez, and Abdul Mujib, was nabbed by members of the Foreign Intelligence and Liason Office at about 3:20 p.m. July 29 in a house on Aglipay St., Barangay Poblacion.

An arrest warrant for Ayeras for the crime of rebellion was issued by Judge Joselito Villarosa of the Makati Regional Trial Court. No bail was recommended.

Police said the suspect was one of the first members of the RSM, a group allegedly responsible for a foiled bomb attack in Metro Manila in 2005.

Ayeras, along with another alleged RSM member Pio de Vera, were reportedly in charge of getting the explosives. Police also said Ayeras was the designated driver of the car carrying the bomb.

Meanwhile, Reynante Ayeras, Ricardo?s brother, complained to the Mandaluyong City police that Ricardo was forcibly taken from their home Sunday afternoon.

He told the Mandaluyong City Police Community Precinct 1 that a white Revo vehicle with plate number XAS-309 stopped in front of their house that afternoon.

Four men armed with short firearms took his brother, who was in the kitchen preparing meals. Reynante said the men grabbed his brother and shouted at him, ?Huwag kang makialam dito!? (Don?t interfere!)

Ayeras denied he was a member of the RSM. He said he had never met RSM leader Hilarion Santos, as alleged by the police. Ayeras, who was dressed like a Muslim when presented to the media, said he was a Catholic. He also alleged he was tortured into making a confession by the PNP.

The suspect alleged he was beaten up, electrocuted, and subjected to psychological abuse while detained at Camp Crame.

The police, he said, wanted him to admit participation in the foiled bomb attacks. According to Ayeras, his interrogators were retired PNP Intelligence Group director Chief Supt. Romeo Ricardo, a certain ?Tony Bakla,? supposedly the right hand man of PNP Chief Director General Oscar Calderon, and a certain Rudy Pangan, who, he claimed, threatened to kill him if he continued to deny involvement in the bombing.

In January, Ayeras was also arrested in Barangay Mangayao, Tagkawayan by PNP IG members because of a rebellion case against him in a Makati City court.

Ayeras was accused of participating in the 2005 Valentine?s Day bombing that killed three people and injured a hundred more. Then PNP IG head Chief Supt. Romeo Ricardo said Ayeras participated in the RSM plan, ?Operation Big Bang? to bomb the Rajah Solaiman Park in Manila.



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