ASG member using Malaysian passport arrested at NAIA

Published May 14, 2022, 12:21 PM

by Jean Fernando

A member of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) allegedly involved in the 2001 Lamitan siege and in the 2002 kidnapping of members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses was arrested on Tuesday, May 10, at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2.

Brig. Gen. Jimili Macaraeg, Southern Police District (SPD) director, identified the suspect as Omar Bin Harun, 52, alias Airola-Adjustable, a security guard and resident of Barangay Kasanyagan, Zamboanga City.

Makaraig said that prior to the arrest of the suspect, members of the District Intelligence Division (DID) of the SPD received information about his arrival from Malaysia.

The SPD chief said the suspect was held and brought to the Office of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) Port Operation Center upon his arrival in the country for verification.

Macaraeg disclosed that during the custodial debriefing, it was found out that the suspect is a Filipino citizen and is using a Malaysian passport under the name of Omar Bin Harun to hide his true identity.

Based on the records of the BI, the suspect was listed in the Terrorism Screening Center (TSC) of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

The SPD requested the Department of Justice (DOJ) through Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Peter Ong to verify the identity of Airola-Adjustable.

Macaraeg said one of the kidnap victims, who is now under the Witness Protection Program, positively identified Airola-Adjustable through a photograph as one of the suspects who abducted her when she was with other members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in August 2002.

The SPD chief said Harun is the fourth member of the ASG under the leadership of Radullan Sahiron arrested by SPD. The other suspects — Taupik Galbun alias Pa Wahid, Saik Galbun alias Pa Tanda, and Dumayag Alih alias Abu Cola — were all arrested in Taguig City in July 2021 and February of this year.

Makaraeg said the SPD, in coordination with other law enforcement agencies, is conducting a thorough investigation and intelligence gathering to determine the reason for Harun’s return to the country considering he is wanted by law.