Police arrested a village official and two suspected Abu Sayyaf members in a checkpoint after they tried to slip chemical explosives and bomb materials in this city, according to a security official. The village offical was identified as Amad Yusop, chairman of Barangay Busay in Sacol Island off this city, while his two companions, who are alleged Abu Sayyaf members, were identified as Nur Kandun and Solaiman Kuadra. City Police director Senior Superintendent James Mejia said the suspects, on board the city government-issued multicab service vehicle, were intercepted at around 5 p.m. Monday in a checkpoint manned by elements of the Regional Public Safety Battalion near the police regional headquarters in Barangay Mercedes. The policemen spotted the suspicious boxes on board the multicab driven by Yusop. The boxes allegedly contained 25 kilos of banned chemical ammonium nitrate. The police also recovered 25 pieces of blasting caps and 11.5 inches of time fuse.
Mejia said Yusop initially claimed that the explosive materials will be used for fishing. Senior Inspector Arlan Delumpines, chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Management (CIDM), said further investigation led them to the discovery that Yusop's companions were alleged members of the Abu Sayyaf group. Delumpines said that during questioning, Yusop retracted his earlier claim and said that his two companions were the real owners of the contraband. Yusop claimed that his two companions asked him a favor to drive them to the city as there was no other available vehicle that would take them from the coastal village of Taluksangay to the city before they were intercepted. The two suspected Abu Sayyaf members have been brought to the police intelligence unit for further tactical interrogation.
City Mayor Celso Lobregat, who was informed by Mejia about the arrest of the village chief, reminded the village official that the government will not tolerate his supposed misconduct. Lobregat also reminded village officials not to use the government-issued vehicles for their own personal use.