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'Mautes' from Lanao 'surrender' to NBI

MANILA, Philippines – Eighteen Muslim Filipinos from Lanao del Sur have presented themselves to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to say that though they have the surname Maute, they are not in any way related to the Maute terror group sowing violence in Marawi City.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said on Wednesday, May 31, that they are treating the 18 as "surrenderees." They are not considered arrested but also not considered cleared yet as the NBI is set to investigate them.

"Hanggang bukas ay baka matapos po natin ang medical examination nila. Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) po 'yan ng NBI. Siguro po'y hihilingin natin sa kanila na kung wala naman silang dahilan para i-detain ay hihilingin po natin na bumalik sila dito bukas para ituloy ang ating SOP investigation," Aguirre said.

(We can probably finish the medical examination tomorrow. That's the NBI's Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). We will request them to return to NBI tomorrow to continue the NBI investigation, seeing as there's no reason to detain them.)

Of the 18 individuals, more than 10 have the surnames Maute while the rest are their relatives, said their lawyer Dalomilang Parahiman from the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF).

Young boys and girls were among the 18 people present at Aguirre's press conference at the NBI on Wednesday.

Parahiman said the 'Maute' clan from Lanao are businessmen who flew to Manila on May 25 and are set to fly to Saudi Arabia next week for the Umrah, or the pilgrimage to Mecca.

When they landed in Manila, they were alarmed to find some of their names appeared "on a list," said Parahiman.

Parahiman said that on the "list" is a name similar to a two-year-old member of the Lanao Maute clan. 

"May asset kasi ang PCTC (Philippine Center on Transnational Crime) sa Laguindingan Airport, nakita niya 'yung manifest na may mga Maute, ni-report niya sa opisina nila. Maute is as common a surname as Dela Cruz or Ramos or San Pedro, most of these Mautes have been residing in Manila for more than 30 years and they go back to Lanao to visit," Parahiman said.

(PCTC has an asset at the Laguindingan Aiport (in Cagayan de Oro) and the asset saw there are Mautes on the manifest, so the asset reported it to his or her office.)

Parahiman could not tell whether the list – which bears some of the names of the 'Maute' clan from Lanao – is the Defense Department's Arrest Order No. 01.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, designated as martial law administrator, issued on May 29 an arrest order against close to 100 members of the Maute terror group.

The arrest order, seen by Rappler, directs the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP) and the NBI to "arrest, take into custody, conduct/continue investigation" on the Maute terror group members.

Aguirre said that as of the time of the press conference on Wednesday, they have not been able to cross check whether the same names appear on Lorenzana's Arrest Order No. 1.

Aguirre has ordered the NBI to fully investigate the 'Maute' family from Lanao. – Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

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