PNP searches for officer who leaked security info

SEVERAL Mindanao-based police intelligence officers are now being questioned after some “vital information” were apparently leaked that allegedly led to the decision of six foreign countries to issue travel advisories against the Philippines.

The United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, France and New Zealand issued travel advisories to its nationals last week with the Australian government going further by warning of a “imminent” terror threats in Manila and Mindanao.

The Aquino administration protested the issuance of the travel advisories.

The country’s top security officials clarified that the information on terror threats are “raw and unverified.”

A senior intelligence officer said yesterday that they received information that one of the basis used by one of the western countries in issuing its travel advisory was an “old intelligence report” from one of their units in Mindanao.

“We are checking if this, indeed, came from one our people from the field and also for us to find out and plug the leaks in our system,” he said.

He added that the “information is somewhat old, but still vital for us.”

The police intelligence officer also maintained that the threat or a possibility of a terrorist attack, not only in Metro Manila and Mindanao, but also in other parts of the country as well, is “general in nature.”

“The threat will always remain there… they (terrorists) have attacked Metro Manila twice in the past, but it’s very general and we have not received any specific reports that a specific place are being targeted,” he added.

The police intelligence officer’s assessment was seconded by the director of the National Capital Regional Police Office (NCRPO) director Chief Supt. Nicanor Bartolome, who also maintained that there are no specific threats.

“The information is very general and we have not received any specifics,” Bartolome said. “Nevertheless, the NCRPO remains on full alert, not only because of terror, but also due to the holiday season.”

Metro Manila is no longer new to terror attacks. On Dec. 30, 2000, joint operatives from a Moro rebel group and Jemaah Islamiyah bombed the Light Rail Transit system, killing 26 people and injuring dozens of others.

On Feb. 14, 2005, members of the Abu Sayyaf  Group (ASG), Rajah Solaiman Movement (RSM) and JI conducted near-simultaneous bombings in the cities of Makati, General Santos and Davao, killing at least eight people and wounding scores of others.  Anthony Vargas

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