Tuesday, August 13, 2019

NBI to probe Pinoy father on Sri Lankan terror cell report

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 13, 2019): NBI to probe Pinoy father on Sri Lankan terror cell report

Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Tuesday ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to proceed with its independent investigation of reports on a terror cell operating in Northern Luzon, even as the NBI already downplayed the reports.

Guevarra said one of three suspects,
Victoria Sophia Sto. Domingo, appeared before the NBI to clear her name.

"The woman is already here but has presented herself to the NBI and has disavowed any terrorist connection,"
Guevarra said.

Sto. Domingo has also denied that her fiancee,
Mark Kevin Samhoon, is a terrorist, the DOJ chief said.

"In any event, the BI's [Bureau of Immigration] Anti-Terror Group is on the alert regarding further movements of these persons,"
Guevarra said.

Speaking to the media, NBI spokesman Ferdinand Lavin said Sto. Domingo, 19, a born-again Christian, who has a Filipino father and a Sri Lankan mother had been cleared in their investigation.

The NBI suspects Victoria Sophia's father, Diosdado, an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) in Saudi working as an IT department employee, had instigated the NBI probe on his daughter, whom he claims to be part of a terrorist group.
In June, Lavin said an anonymous email was sent to the office of the director who then assigned the case to the intelligence service of assistant director Eric Distor.

"The contents of the email was that three suspected terrorist bombers are coming into the Philippines. One of them (the email) is already in the Philippines according to the e-mail and so we responded immediately. So all human technical and resources of the bureau were utilized by the intelligence service and we were able to trace one of the three mentioned in the e-mail and the intelligence service was able to locate Victoria Sto. Domingo who happens to be a dual citizen, Filipina, and Sri Lankan, born to a Filipino father and a Sri Lankan mother," Lavin said.

Lavin said Victoria Sophia appeared before the NBI's Counter-Terrorism Division and gave a statement, denying that she is a terrorist.

She denied she had been part of a group behind a bombing in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

"According to her statement (the email) could have been perpetrated by their father because her father does not approve of her relationship with her fiance and her father wanted her to stay at the house of the relative of the father," Lavin said, adding that the email was sent out on the same day the daughter disobeyed her father's instructions and moved out of the house of the relative.

"We would like to allay or assuage the fears of the public. Everything is in good hands. Everything is under control. Your government agencies especially your military and law enforcement units are on top of the situation We see to it that we share intelligence information and this intelligence information is properly handled," he said.


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