MANILA–The two suspected members of terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), who were arrested recently in Taguig City, are now in the custody of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Based on the letter sent to Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II by NBI Fugitive Search Unit, Husayn Al-Dhafiri, Kuwait citizen; and Rahaf Zina, a Syrian national, were properly turned over to AFP custody on Saturday, through Major Jonathan Escopalao, ISG PA, AFP at ISG HQ Fort Bonifacio Taguig City.
Aguirre said the Justice Department would continue its investigation to determine if there were other members of the terrorist group in the country following the arrest of the duo.
“We are going to continue, in partnership with our intelligence units, to verify if there are other persons involved,” said Aguirre.
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) arrested Al-Dhafiri and Zina on March 25.
The two, whose arrests stemmed from the deportation request of the Kuwaiti Embassy, were detained at the NBI while awaiting the finalization of the deportation proceedings against them.
Based on intelligence reports provided by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the information given by the Kuwaiti government, Al-Dhafiri is a member of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as ISIS.
Al-Dhafiri is allegedly involved in explosives manufacturing and possibly on operational planning against Kuwait, while Rahaf is the widow of the slain Abu Jandal Al-Kuwaiti, who is the number two military commander of the ISIS operating in Syria.
Aguirre said the couple had been in the country since January 28 using working visas which was facilitated by a local company called Q8 Solutions.
Citing verification made by the BI of Al-Dhafiri’s travel records, the DOJ chief noted that the Kuwaiti has been in the Philippines several times in 2016 using a tourist visa.
Aguirre said the two were charged for violation of immigration laws in the country as they failed to present immigration documents.
He added that deportation proceedings are being conducted.
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente assured that the bureau is conducting an investigation against the company.
Since their arrival last January, Morente learned during the debriefing of the couple that the couple went to Davao for four days and to Cebu for three days.
During the couple’s stay, Morente admitted that it was possible that the two may have met with members of local terror groups like the Maute.
“That is a possibility and that is being investigated by our intelligence service,” he assured.
“I think this company (Q8 Solutions) was being investigated by the House (of Representatives) Rep. Joey Salceda in 2016 for illegal recruitment,” the BI chief added.
Morente said Al-Dhafiri would be deported to Kuwait while Zina would be deported to Qatar since it was her last known location before she arrived in the country.
He said they are coordinating with the security services of Kuwait and Qatar for the turnover of the two