PNP completes probe on Tunisian ISIS suspect

MANILA Investigators have uncovered more information against Fehmi Lassqued, a.k.a. John Rasheed Lassqued, the suspected Tunisian terrorist who was arrested by Manila police and military intelligence operatives in an apartment in Manila last month.

In a statement Tuesday, Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesman, Chief Supt. John Bulalacao, said the PNP has completed a background check on the alleged member of the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) based on information provided by foreign police counterparts.

"The PNP investigators have verified Lassqued to be of Libyan and Tunisian descent, not Egyptian as earlier reported in the initial investigation. He was born in the United Arab Emirates, but lived in Syria for many years," the statement said.

Lassqued and his Filipina companion, Anabel Moncera Salipada, 32, of Upi, Maguindanao were arrested last Feb. 16 in Room 409 of Casa Blanca Apartment along M. Adriatico, Ermita, Manila during a search conducted by operatives of the Regional Police Intelligence Operations Unit of the National Capital Region Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines Joint Special Operations Group on orders of the Makati City Regional Trial Court Branch 139.

Lassoued and Salipada were arrested upon the discovery of a Caliber 45 pistol, ammunition and components for Improvised Explosive Devices (IED), such as electronic circuits, resistors, capacitors, batteries, and pipe fittings. Lassqued was using a Republic of Tunisia passport.

The Department of Justice (DOJ), through Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Peter L. Ong, earlier dismissed the complaint against the two, citing that Lassqued claimed that he was arrested in Makati City, and not in Manila, as claimed by authorities.

The resolution was approved by OIC-Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Rassendell Rex F. Gingoyon.

Salipada also denied owning the seized explosive devices and the firearm, saying that when the police searched their apartment in Manila, she was taken and held outside the apartment.

The DOJ resolution noted that the background of the picture of the seized items is different from the couple's apartment.

A perusal of the photographs suggests that these pictures were taken in a place other than the apartment of [Lassqued and Salipada] since their background is different, the resolution noted.

The fact that both respondents underwent medical examination in two different places on two different occasions, suggests that they were arrested in separate places at different times, the DOJ said. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency