MANILA -- A senator on Thursday stressed the need to prioritize counterterrorism following reports that an Indonesian national suspected of being a Maute group straggler was arrested in Marawi City.
“Indonesian terrorist recently arrested in Marawi claims they have about 30 more terrorists left. Really need to focus on counterterrorism,” Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito said on his official Twitter account.
Ejercito, in his tweet, also stressed that terrorism is a “worldwide concern.”
He said he would propose amendments to the general appropriations act to increase the budget for counter-terrorism operations of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP).
The senator also reacted to the recent act of terrorism in New York which he said should “open” the government’s eyes that counter-terrorism units should be strengthened.
At present, the Indonesian national suspected of being a Maute group straggler has already been subjected to an inquest proceeding at the Quezon City Prosecutor's Office.
Muhammad Ilham Syahputra was subjected to inquest proceedings for violation of Republic Act 134 (Rebellion), Republic Act 10591 (Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act), Republic Act 9516 (Explosives Act), and Republic Act 9851 (International Humanitarian Law).
Syahputra was arrested 7 a.m. Wednesday by operatives of the Marawi City Police in Barangay Luksa Datu.
Seized from his possession were a .45-caliber pistol, a fragmentation grenade, and a backpack containing a pink tablet, 10 pieces of PHP1,000 bills, 15 PHP500 bills, and two PHP100 bills.
When questioned, the Indonesian admitted to being a member of the ISIS terror group that came to the Philippines and took part in various terror operations. (PNA)