MANILA (Mabuhay) – Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan had planned to bomb the convoy of Pope Francis during the pontiff’s visit to the Philippines last month, a police official said Monday.
In his speech during the Senate hearing on the January 25 Mamasapano clash, relieved Special Action Force (SAF) director Getulio Napeñas said they received “unconfirmed” information that the Jemaah Islamiyah, in coordination with Marwan, was planning to device a bomb that will be detonated as the papal convoy drove from T.M Kalaw Street in Manila on Jan 18, 2015.
“These reports were not confirmed and neither admitted nor denied by the Philippine National Police, but the fact, however, remains that there exist this information,” he said.
Reached for comments, military spokesman Col. Restituto Padilla Jr. said they also received information on Marwan’s supposed plan to bomb the papal convoy during his visit in the Philippines last month.
“We got wind of this piece of info but this was unverified and unconfirmed information,” Padilla said.
He also said that the security plan on the papal visit was adjusted to ensure the pontiff’s safety.
“Just the same planning adjustments were made in consideration of this and to ensure protection of the Pope,” he added.
Pope Francis held a Mass at Quirino Grandstand on January 18, an event attended by an estimated 6 million Catholic devotees.
Marwan, described as a bomb-making expert, was the target of the January 25 SAF operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
Though government authorities claim Marwan was neutralized in the SAF operation, 44 elite policemen were also killed when the police team engaged in a firefight with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) who were holding camp in the area.
Napeñas, during Monday’s Senate hearing, also said a couple of days ago, there were reports that not less than 30 of Marwan’s students were roaming around Central Mindanao, “ready and willing and able to create widespread fear and terror, panic to our countrymen though the use of improvised explosive device.”
“This undeniable facts and information clearly show the danger that this Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli ‘Marwan’ bin Hir poses to the public. That danger no longer exists on his death on January 25, 2015. Thanks to our new breed of 44 heroes and the other members of the SAF who executed Oplan Exodus,” he said. (MNS)