THE Philippine National Police (PNP) presented Monday, March 5, an alleged sub-leader of the Maute terror group who was arrested by the elements of the Manila Police District in Tondo on Saturday, March 3. Abdul Nasser Lomondot, also known Mohhamad Lomondot, was arrested along with his wife Raisalam Lomondot in a joint police-military operation in Tondo, Manila, according to Manila Police District (MPD) district director Chief Superintendent Joel Coronel. Coronel said Lomondot took part in the five-month Marawi battle between the Maute Group, which was recently declared by the US government as a terrorist organization, and the government forces. Lomondot was allegedly one of the key planners in the attack in Marantao, Lanao del Sur during the Marawi siege. “The subject Abdul Nasser Lomondot, a sub-group leader of the Maute Group, is personally related to the late Omar Maute, one of the leaders of the ISIS (Islamic State)-affiliated group and he was involved personally and present in the Marawi incident. In fact, before the liberation of Marawi, he was one of those who were fortunate to escape the military (from the battle zone),” he said.
Authorities said they recovered from the Lomondot couple a calibre .45 pistol, hand grenade and cellular phones. Coronel said Lomondot initially denied being member of the terrorist group but after he was confronted with “hard facts” about his involvement in terror acts, he confirmed being a member of the group. He said Lomondot moved to Cagayan de Oro City in Misamis Oriental following his escape from the war-torn Marawi City in Lanao del Sur, before he then he went to Manila through public transportation in January. He said the suspect was able to elude checkpoints in Mindanao by using a fake identification card with a fictitious name. “He travelled by land. When he was accosted he was using a fictitious name, he came here in an assumed name, but we were able to identify his identification through our intelligence,” said Coronel. “That is one of our problems in detecting these kinds of personalities who will travel from Mindanao going to different parts of the country they are under an assumed identity and only at that time when reports are given to us and verification has been done that is the time we are going to neutralize them,” he added. Coronel said interrogation showed that Lomondot moved to Metro Manila not to create havoc, but to seek refuge and escape from intensified military operations in Mindanao, which is under an extended martial rule. The couple will be facing charges of illegal possession of firearms. Lomondot will also be slapped with charges of rebellion and other charges for his involvement with the terror group.