Military denies 10 foreign terrorists in Philippines

Posted at 11/06/2010 3:28 PM

MANILA, Philippines - A military spokesman on Saturday denied claims of intelligence experts that 10 foreign terrorists are in the country to help the Abu Sayyaf group sow terror in Metro Manila.

Brig. Gen. Jose Mabanta, spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), said that the claims of Professor Rommel Baloi and former police intelligence chief Rodolfo "Boogie" Mendoza were based on unverified information.

Mabanta described Baloi as an academic, who does not leave his desk and has not been part of any intelligence gathering operation, but only studies intelligence reports.

He said that instead of going to the media for publicity, the professor should have shared his information with security forces.

Mabanta also dismissed Mendoza's claim that there are sleeper cells in the metropolis that can be activated anytime.

He said that when he was still in active service, Mendoza had a reputation of being an expert in terrorism and was among the best in intelligence operations.

Mabanta said that since Mendoza is already retired from the service, he may not have the same intelligence network.

Despite the military's cynical view of the assessment of Baloi and Mendoza and the travel advisories by 6 different countries, Mabanta said that the AFP's National Capital Region Command will remain on red alert until the end of election period on November 10.

Mabanta said the military should continue to be vigilant and on guard against terrorists despite having no verified information on the alleged threats to Metro Manila.

He reiterated that terrorists are in Sulu and Basilan, where the Abu Sayyaf and some members of the Jemaah Islamiyah are hiding.