MANILA—One of the two suspected members of terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) who were arrested by authorities last month is still in the country, a Department of Justice (DOJ) official said Thursday.
Justice Undersecretary Erickson Balmes confirmed that Syrian national Rahaf Zina remains in the country as the Bureau of Immigration is arranging her flight back home with the assistance of the Syrian Embassy.
BI spokesperson Ma. Antonette Bucasas-Mangrobang said Zina is still in the country due to “airline ticket problem”, though she did not provide details on the matter.
“She has yet to be deported due to airline ticket problem (and) it is not the bureau who procures the ticket,” Mangrobang noted.
It will be recalled that the BI Board of Commissioners led by its chief, Jaime Morente ordered the deportation of Zina last April 11 saying her “presence in the country poses risk to public interest.”
The order also directed the inclusion of Zina’s name in the BI’s blacklist with the remarks of being “undesirable and or undocumented.”
Morente said Zina failed to present a valid passport or travel document for her stay in the country when she was nabbed by immigration authorities along with Kuwaiti national Husayn Al-Dhafiri last March 25 in Taguig City.
Al-Dhafiri was already deported to Kuwait last April 14.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II previously said that based on information provided by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, Al-Dhafiri who also goes by the alias Warsh Al-Kuwaiti and Abu Muslim Al Kuwaiti has links to terrorists.
Aguirre said the information they received also showed that Zina is a widow of slain ISIS commander, Abu Jandal Al-Kuwaiti.