Nobleza admits rescue try for fugitive ASG men

SUPERINTENDENT Maria Christina Nobleza admitted to police officials that she and her husband, alleged bomb expert Renierlo Dongon, were in Bohol to deliver medicines to a wounded member of Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).

Police Regional Office-Central Visayas Director Noli Taliño said Nobleza was asked by Dongon to help a certain Saad, who was wounded in the first encounter with the government forces in Barangay Napo, Inabanga last April 11.

Pabalik-balik sila sa Panglao, Inabanga, at Clarin area para alamin nasaan yung grupo at (to know where the group was) accordingly itatapon lang yung gamot (leave the medicines),” he said. “Siyempre, hindi naman tayo naniniwala agad doon (Of course, we don’t easily buy that).”

Taliño believes the couple had other motives.

“Definitely terrorism, terroristic activities. Now, dahil sa doon na-recover noong una ebidensiya, like yung mga IED components na-recover. Saan gagamitin yun? Of, course, bomb (Because of the evidence that we recovered, like the IED components. What were they for?),” he said. “Kidnapping is another motive na pwedeng gawin (that is viable).”

Nobleza denied they planned to disrupt the Association of Southeast Asian Nations meetings in Panglao Island and plotted bombings.

When asked if Nobleza is an ASG member, Taliño said they are still investigating her extent of participation in the terrorists’ organization.

Dongon admitted he married Nobleza under Muslim rites. The police official converted to Islam before the wedding.

Yan ang sinasabi ni Dongon na mag-asawa sila (That’s what Dongon said, that they are married),” Taliño said.

Dongon was reportedly a leader of Khilafah Islamiya and he was caught with an associate in Marawi City on May 11, 2013. His sister is the widow of Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, better known as Marwan, who was killed in a police operation on Jan. 25, 2016.

Nobleza’s marriage to Supt. Allan Nobleza, police attache in Pakistan, was annulled by a court in 2010.

Eight suspected ASG members were killed in the clashes in Inabanga and Barangay Bacani, Clarin, including the group’s guide—the Napo native Joselito Melloria.

Regional Crime Laboratory-Central Visayas Chief Romer Daguno said three bandits are still unidentified.

The Clarin encounter happened last April 22 and at the time, Nobleza, an elderly woman named Judith and a 13-year-old boy, were on board a black Nissan Navara pickup truck driven by Dongon, when they were taken into police custody for refusing to stop at a checkpoint in Clarin.

Police found bottles of energy drink, canned goods, diving gears, goggles, biscuits, boxes of chocolates, men’s shorts, male underwear, shirts, and medical kits inside the vehicle.

Taliño said the three remaining bandits have no means to survive, after Melloria’s death. They do not know Bohol’s terrain and one is reportedly wounded.

Survival mode na sila, wala silang support sa community. Suicide yung ginawa nila dito,” he said.

He further said: “Akala nila siguro pareho sa pinanggalingan nila na kahit saan sila pumunta meron silang pwede maging supporter. Dito sa Central Visayas, hindi sila puwede dito. Kukuyogin sila ng taga-Central Visayas (Maybe they think it’d be like where they came from where they could go anywhere and have support).”

Police are validating the reports of a suspicious-looking man in Jagna, Bohol yesterday.

Nobleza and Dongon checked into a cheap apartment in Panglao last April 16, five days after the encounter in Napo.

A day before the couple arrived, apartment owner Bedalynda Apduhan told the police that her cousin-in-law, Chief Insp. Josephine Clemen, called her to have a room reserved for the couple.

Taliño said the police officer referred Nobleza to the apartment, but she did not know Nobleza’s other activities.

Clemen and Nobleza were colleagues at the regional crime laboratory in Bicol, before the latter was transferred to Davao Region, Apduhan told radio dyRD.

Police charged Nobleza at the Bohol Provincial Prosecutor’s Office with illegal possession of firearms, resistance and disobedience to a person in authority, and harboring of a criminal.

Dongon and Judith were charged with resistance and disobedience to agent of person in authority.

Police Director Gen. Ronald dela Rosa ordered Nobleza and Dongon detained in Camp Crame, while Judith remains in the custody of the Bohol Provincial Police Office.

The minor was turned over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
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