DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 8 June) – Engr. Cayamora Maute, 67, and three others were flown to Manila at 9:45 p.m. Wednesday after a day in detention at the Davao City Police Office for security reasons, Brig. Gen. Gilbert Gapay, martial law spokesperson for Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom), said Thursday morning.
Gapay said Cayamora and his second wife, Kongan Alfonso Balawag, their daughter Norjannah Balawag Maute, and her alleged partner Benzarali Tingao were charged for “illegal possession of firearms and explosives” after inquest proceedings Wednesday.
Police recovered a caliber .45 pistol and a grenade from the vehicle they were riding in, a black Toyota Grandia, whose owner has yet to be determined by the military, according to Gapay.
He said the vehicle came from Cotabato City and then travelled to Sultan Kudarat where they picked up Cayamora and his second wife.
Gapay said it remains unclear for the military how the Maute patriarch got out of Marawi.
He surmised that the possible escaping route may be through the western side of Lake Lanao or travel by boat crossing the lake going to Butig, the Maute’s stronghold, to Malabang, and then to Parang, Maguindanao.
Cayamora told reporters Tuesday evening that he left Marawi on Sunday.
Prosecutors Aimee Mabale and Maria Christina Adao released the driver, Aljon Salazar Ismael, to his lawyer, Delfin Suarez Jr., at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday “due to lack of probable cause,” Gapay said.
The four were airlifted via a C130 of the Philippine Air Force.
He said the four were transferred to Manila “for security reasons” since Cayamora, the father of Abdullah and Omar Maute, who are leading the attack on Marawi City since May 23, is “considered high value individual and high risk individual” for being the father of the Maute brothers who founded the Maute group.
Gapay said Cayamora is a “high-risk” person because he has a big role in the events in Marawi, or even way before, especially during the formative years of the Maute Group. He added that the Maute brothers’ father must have been involved in the buildup over the years, probably even joined in the recruitment and amassing of firearms.
He said that Cayamora, being the patriarch in the Maranao clan, should have a very strong influence in the direction the family would take.
Gapay, however, did not disclose the detention facility in Manila for security reasons.
He said authorities are still building up the evidence for rebellion charge against Cayamora and his companions. He said he believes they have a strong evidence to hold Cayamora responsible for rebellion since he is on the watch list.
“The rebellion charge will be treated separately,” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)