MANILA (Updated) -- The father of the Maute brothers, who pioneered the extremist group now battling state forces in Marawi City, was transferred to Metro Manila early morning Thursday to ward off the potential rescue plots, a military official said Thursday.
"Ini-transport siya kagabi, pasado midnight, 10 minutes past midnight, batid po naming nakarating na po ng Maynila pero sa eksaktong lugar po kung saan siya dinala e hindi po sa amin binanggit," said Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Restituto Padilla.
Brigadier General Gilbert Gapay, deputy commander of the Army's Eastern Mindanao Command, said there were no “direct” reports of covert plan to rescue Cayamora Maute but the military preferred his transfer to Manila as he is deemed as “high-value” and “high-risk” individual.
“It is for security reasons that he is transferred. He is the patriarch and the head of the Maute clan and such, he is considered as a high-value target, and at the same time, high-risk individual also. That’s why we opted to transfer him to Manila,” Gapay said.
On Tuesday, Maute was arrested at a checkpoint in Sirawan, Toril, Davao City, along with four other companions, including Norjannah Balawag Maute, his daughter and her husband Benzarali Tinglao, Cayamora’s second wife Kongan Alfonso Balawag and driver Aljon Salazar Ismael.
Authorities said police noticed that Maute was covering his face while undergoing inspection that prompted them to hold the family.
He was later on identified as the father of Omar and Abduhallah, who led the attack in Marawi City on May 23, which prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to declare martial law in Mindanao.
Recovered from the arrested suspect were P363,000 cash, several identification cards, pistol, grenade and personal belongings.
Cayamora and his daughter Norjannah have outstanding warrants of arrest for kidnapping, illegal detention and illegal possession of explosives issued by the Regional Trial Court in Lanao del Sur.
They were flown out of Davao City on Wednesday night and transferred to Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City early Thursday, June 8.
Gapay said it was likely possible that the Maute terror group would take Cayamora out of the authorities custody, citing that the Islamic State-backed group had rescued some of their “ordinary” members in the past.
He also admitted that some Maute members "may have exited Marawi" before the incident escalated.
Gapay added that the military is not discounting the possibility that the terror group would launch "retaliatory and diversionary" attacks.
"If we look at how Maute group operates, there is one instance they rescued ordinary members of the group in Marawi. And what more to Cayamora who is the head of the clan. So it is not a remote possibility they wil also do that here in Davao while he is detained here,” he said.
“We cannot discount the risk wherever he (Cayamora) is, because we know how the Maute group operates. And we are prepared for that, our security forces, for any eventualities like this,” Gapay added. (SunStar Philippines)