GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 15 June) – Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana assured on Thursday that they have enough evidences that could prove the alleged links of personalities named in the two arrest orders he earlier issued in connection with the terror attacks in Marawi City.
He gave the assurance as he welcomed the decision of an official of the Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (TESDA) in South Cotabato province who was included in the arrest order to surrender voluntarily to authorities on Wednesday afternoon.
Engr. Talib Bayabao, TESDA-South Cotabato provincial director, personally yielded to the South Cotabato police director, Sr. Supt. Franklin Alvero, at the provincial headquarters in Koronadal City.
Bayabao was fourth in the list of persons named in Arrest Order No. 2 issued last week by the Department of National Defense for violation of Article 134 of the Revised Penal Code or for rebellion.
Lorenzana said they have witnesses and evidences that links Bayabao to the Maute Group but declined to give further details.
“He will be subjected first to inquest proceedings and will have the chance later on to prove his innocence before the court,” he said in an interview over Brigada News FM Koronadal.
In an interview with reporters, Bayabao said he was not in any way connected with the Maute Group and had not joined or supported any revolutionary organization.
“I really don’t know why I was associated to them (Maute). I have a clean record as a public servant,” he said.
Bayabao said he is not related with and does not know the Maute brothers as well as other members of the group.
The official said he was first informed late last week by relatives in Marawi City that his name was listed in Arrest Order No. 2.
He immediately sought assistance from other TESDA officials and was advised to get a counsel and surrender voluntarily.
“I came here to prove that I am innocent and to clear my name,” he said.
But Bayabao, who hails from Marawi City, said he could have been included in the list due to his previous connections with former mayors Fajad Salic and Solitario Ali Salic.
Bayabao said he had served as city engineer of Marawi for 14 years under the administration of the two former officials.
He eventually left the local government of Marawi to briefly serve as Executive Assistant IV and Director II of the Mindanao State University (MSU) Marawi campus.
Bayabao said he left MSU after being appointed as Director III of TESDA. He assumed as its provincial director in South Cotabato in December 2016.
Alvero said Bayabao will remain in their custody pending their ongoing investigation.
He said they have coordinated with the Police Regional Office-12, National Bureau of Investigation and the Armed Forces of the Philippines to determine whether formal charges had been filed against the official.
Under Proclamation 216, which placed the entire Mindanao under martial law, he said they are given three days to take custody and investigate Bayabao.
“If there are no charges then there’s no basis for us to continue to hold him,” he added. (MindaNews)