Maute relatives nabbed in Iloilo, flown back to CDO for probe
First published: 3:30 p.m., June 19, 2017
ILOILO CITY — Three travelers intercepted at the port of Iloilo on Sunday and held for suspected ties with the Maute terror group were flown to Cagayan de Oro City early Monday.
A 10-seat Islander plane of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) took off from Iloilo International Airport at 5:30 a.m. carrying Farida Romato, 23; her brother Al Jadid Romato, 20, and Abdul Rahman Dimacuta, 25 and supposed boyfriend of Farida.
The three were accompanied by Coast Guards from Northern Mindanao, according to Lt/Sgt. Edison Diaz, PCG station commander in Iloilo.
Arrest Order No. 1
Diaz said Farida was among the people covered by Arrest Order No.1 issued by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana after President Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao.
The Romatos admitted that they were relatives of brothers Omarkhayam and Abdullah Maute, leaders of the terror group battling government forces in Marawi City.
But they denied involvement in the terror group, Diaz said.
He said the three were taken to Cagayan de Oro for further investigation.
About 20 Coast Guards intercepted the three at the Iloilo port around 3:15 p.m. on Sunday after they arrived on board the MV St. Therese of Child Jesus of the 2GO shipping company.
Intelligence agents had monitored the three to have boarded the ship and set the interception in Iloilo.
The ship departed Cagayan de Oro on Sunday evening for Iloilo City and Manila.
The three had tickets to Manila, but used false names, Diaz said.
Farida told investigators that she and her companions were meeting their parents in Cavite where they had a business.
Diaz denied reports that the woman was a sister of the Maute brothers.
He said only clothes and other personal belongings were recovered from the three.
In Cagayan de Oro, no reporter was allowed to enter the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) office, which was inside the camp of the military’s 4th Infantry Division.
No one from the CIDG would confirm if it had the three suspects in its custody. —With a report from Jigger J. Jerusalem SFM/rga/atm