MANILA (UPDATED) - The Philippine National Police on Tuesday said it has foiled a potential attack by the Maute Group following the arrest of a suspect who allegedly gave safe haven to Maute fighters last year.
“PNP has foiled another sinister attempt by the ISIS-inspired Maute group to launch terrorist activities,” Director General Ronald dela Rosa told the media as they presented Nacip Ibrahim.
Ibrahim was arrested in Barangay Culiat in Quezon City on Monday. Seized from the suspect were several handguns, live ammunition, bomb components, and sachets of drugs.
Dela Rosa said police elements "discovered and intercepted in time an improvised explosive device being prepared by the suspects even before it can be delivered to its possible target or used elsewhere."
"This discovery leads us to believe that the Maute group has already established presence in Metro Manila. As to what extent, that is the subject of our follow-up investigations and operations," he said as he urged the public to remain calm yet alert and vigilant of the presence of threat groups.
Dela Rosa assured that the PNP, in cooperation with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, remains on high alert against any terror threat.
PARTICIPATION IN BOMB TRY NEAR THE US EMBASSY
Police Director Oscar Albayalde, chief of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), said the suspect was involved in the foiled bombing attempt at the US Embassy last year.
The suspect allegedly drove the car used to transport the improvised explosive device from Mindanao to Metro Manila through a roll-on/roll-off vessel.
"Ito ang lumalabas na siya ang pinaka-contact nila dito. He is providing them safe haven because he has been living in [sic] Barangay Culiat, doon sa Salam Compound since 1992," said Albayalde.
"Siya ang nagbibigay ng parang shelter dito sa mga nahuli na apat doon sa US Embassy," he added.
Albayalde noted the mortar shell recovered from Ibrahim was supposed to have been used during the Traslacion of the Black Nazarene and the Miss Universe pageant in Manila.