Director Oscar Albayalde appealed to the public not to spread baseless information, especially those uploaded in social media, after the police memo allegedly from the Station Intelligence Branch (SIB) of the Valenzuela police station was circulated on Facebook, personal messages and other platforms. AP Photo/Aaron Favila, File

NCRPO probes spread of ‘terror’ memo
Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) - June 20, 2017 - 4:00pm

MANILA, Philippines - National Capital Regional Police Office (NCRPO) chief Director Oscar Albayalde ordered an investigation of the Valenzuela City police after the leak of a confidential memorandum alerting police units on alleged plans of the Maute group to conduct bombings in Metro Manila.?

Albayalde appealed to the public not to spread baseless information, especially those uploaded in social media, after the police memo allegedly from the Station Intelligence Branch (SIB) of the Valenzuela police station was circulated on Facebook, personal messages and other platforms,

“With the advent of technology, the spread of information, factual or unverified, via social media, is fast and boundless,” he said. “I have ordered Northern Police District (NPD) director Chief Supt. Roberto Fajardo to investigate the document handling procedure at the Valenzuela Police Station.”

Fajardo directed the NPD intelligence division and Valenzuela police chief Senior Supt. Ronaldo Mendoza to investigate the leakage of the memo.

Albayalde said a document purportedly from the Valenzuela police SIB chief alerted all police precinct commanders that about 14 members of the Maute group were planning to conduct bombing in shopping malls in Quezon City, Manila and Makati City.?

The memo advised all police units to take appropriate action, initiate counter security measures to prevent government casualty and attacks from the enemy, particularly police stations and military units and vital installations in their respective areas of jurisdiction.?

Albayalde assured the public that the information was not taken for granted.?“We process every information received and task our police on the ground to validate all these so that we will be able to address any threat immediately and appropriately,” Albayalde added.

“We also express our gratitude to concerned individuals and our friends from the media who are the first to inform us about the document. This is vigilance in action.”?

He reiterated his call that security is everyone’s concern as he urged the public to remain vigilant and report to the police all suspicious looking individuals and packages around them.

“We give due respect to freedom of expression, let us be vigilant by not spreading news or information that may cause undue alarm to the public at large,” he added.

Albayalde ordered the intelligence chief of the Valenzuela police to explain in writing how the un-validated memorandum surfaced on social media, creating panic among Metro Manila residents.

The intelligence chief of the Valenzuela police admitted ownership of the memo but added that he distributed it for validation among their police community precincts.

Albayalde met yesterday with Senior Supt. Eleazar Matta, NCRPO’s intelligence chief, and head of the intelligence divisions of the five police districts and 38 police stations in Metro Manila to discuss the proper handling of confidential security documents.

“We wanted the leak not to be repeated so I called a dialogue among our police intelligence chiefs, reminding them how to deal properly with confidential information,” he said.

The unsigned document was referenced to Fajardo, NPD head, and the Office of the Regional Intelligence Division.

The memo dated June 16 claimed that the Maute group is planning to conduct bombing in some shopping malls in the metropolis.

“The intention of the memo is to have our people on the ground validate it for our intelligence consumption. It so happens that it leaked in the social media and sowed confusion to the public,” said Albayalde.

The Philippine National Police Aviation Security Group (AVSEGROUP) at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport placed the four major international airport terminals in the country on tight watch after receiving unconfirmed report that terrorist groups planned to attack populated areas.

AVSEGROUP public information officer Clairamie Sandulan said they are verifying reports that the Maute group and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters planned to launch attacks in key cities nationwide on June 30, 2017.

The report also said gasoline trucks and liquefied petroleum gas delivery trucks would be hijacked and used as truck bombs.

Churches, shopping malls and populated areas were reportedly listed as targets in the planned attacks.

It was also gathered that members of the Maute special units that have completed training on explosives last November have been in place at their respective targets nationwide to simultaneously execute attacks during the Friday prayer “Jumaaah.”

Sandulan said that they are still verifying the reports but at the same time, they alerted all police aviation groups nationwide to be on alert and intensify intelligence gathering operations. – With Non Alquitran, Rey Galupo, Reuters

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