Valenzuela City Congressman Win Gatchalian urged the Philippine National Police (PNP) to come up with a credible investigation that will determine the source of the firearms that were used in last week’s terror attacks in Jakarta, Indonesia.
According to The Wall Street Journal report, Indonesian Police Spokesman Anton Charliyan said that 12 people arrested in the raids disclosed the information that the guns described as “well-built” came from the Philippines. Charliyan added that nine more guns seized in the counterterrorism raids in Jakarta since Thursday came from another neighboring country.
Indonesian authorities had claimed that they were able to trace the serial numbers of the seized firearms as having been shipped to the Philippines, where loose firearms are known to proliferate while some unscrupulous uniformed personnel are known to pilfer firearms and sell these to lawless elements.
The PNP estimates there are around 500,000 guns with expired licenses and which are considered loose firearms on top of the more than 21,000 unlicensed guns, half of which are in Mindanao.
Gatchalian said a swift and credible probe by the PNP on the questioned firearms is needed since further delays will create an embarrassing situation for the Philippines insofar as the ASEAN’s campaign against terrorism is concerned.
“It is bad enough that there are more than 500,000 firearms with expired licenses proliferating in our country. But what is worse is that some of these might have fallen into the hands of unknown terrorists who are out to wreak havoc like what happened in Jakarta recently,” said Gatchalian, a majority member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
The Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (FTRAC), an Indonesian agency investigating cash transfers allegedly channeled to fund terrorist activities in the country has discovered that some money was used to buy weapons from the Philippines.
FTRAC chief Muhammad Yusuf had told the media in Jakarta that the money had first been transferred by “an individual from a neighboring country in the south (of Indonesia)” to his wife’s and his own account in Indonesia. After having communications with the counterterrorism police unit Detachment 88, the FTRAC found out that “H” used the money to buy weapons from an arms supplier in the Philippines.
Suspected terrorists allied with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) attacked a Starbucks cafe in a shopping area and started gunfight against the police that claimed eight lives that included four attackers and four civilians last January 14.
Gatchalian said the PNP should immediately conduct a deep investigation on the firearms used by the Jakarta attackers and which were reportedly bought from the Philippines based on the initial probe by the FTRAC.
Since the late 1990s, members of the militant Jemaah Islamiya from Malaysia and Indonesia had been maintaining links with the local Abu Sayyaf Group. The December 30, 2000 Rizal Day bombings in five targets in Metro Manila have been carried out by suspected local Islamic militants under the guidance of Jemaah Islamiya.
Jemaah Islamiya terrorists have been using the Southern backdoor to slip into country and it’s possible that the same backdoor was used to smuggle the firearms that were used in the Jakarta terror attacks.
Gatchalian had earlier advised the PNP and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to take proactive measures to prevent terror attacks on Philippine soil similar to the ones launched in Indonesia’s capital last week.
“Now that the attacks hit much closer to home, it’s high time for authorities to shift from being reactive to taking proactive measures,” said Gatchalian, a member of the Nationalist Peoples Coalition (NPC). (Monica Cantilero)