City police officials clarified they have not determined Pakistani national Haroon Basher to be a “terrorist”, after his arrest for alleged unlawful possession of a gun and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) on August 6 in Barangay San Jose.
P/Lt. Col. Aristotle Castillo, officer-in-charge of the Puerto Princesa City Police Office (PPCPO), said in a press briefing Friday that they are not “labeling” Basher as a bomb maker with possible terrorism links.
“Wala naman po kaming binabanggit na ito ay involved sa terrorism o terorista siya kasi, ang sabi ko nga ang treatment natin sa kanya sa ngayon ay ordinary violator ng batas. Nakunan siya ng explosives sa possession niya doon lang po tayo, wala pong iba, nasa investigation pa rin po tayo,” he said.
Castillo said his case is being treated as an “ordinary” violation of the law. However, they are still investigating why he would have a handgun and IEDs in his possession.
Declining to give more details about Basher and what led the police to seek authority to search his home for IEDs, Castillo said what is important for the public to know is that the Pakistani is not a threat to the peace and security in the city and province.
Further speculating that he is a terrorist without basis should be stopped as it will only sow fear amongst residents.
“Yong threat na sinasabi, sa ngayon wala po kaming nakikitang threat sa Puerto Princesa. That’s why hindi pa kami makapunta doon sa mas detalyado dahil sa validations na kinukuha namin at sa investigations. Generally, walang dapat ikatakot ang Puerto Princesa,” he said.
Anti-Crime Task Force (ACTF) chief Richard Ligad said they also do not want to speculate about what Basher will do with the IEDs.
“Sa atin una, nagulat tayo noong unang malaman natin pero ganoon pa man nagpapasalamat tayo sa efforts ng kapulisan at ibang mga kasali sa team na ito at least nalaman natin na may ganoon although sabi nga natin hindi pa natin alam kung ano ang purpose kung bakit meron siyang ganoong gamit,” he said.
“Ayaw nating mag-speculate… na pangunahan na kung ano ba yan siya member ba siya ng kung anong grupo? Ano ba yan or sariling palo niya yan or what… hindi natin pangungunahan ang kapulisan,” Ligad added.