Department of Justice

Suspected terror fund facilitator caught using remittance centers

John Sitchon

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Suspected terror fund facilitator caught using remittance centers

FUND FACILITATOR. Myrna Mabanza is identified as a ‘specially designated global terrorist’ by the US and listed by the United Nations Security Council for her alleged links to the Al-Qaeda.


Emmett Manantan of the Anti-Money Laundering Council confirmed that the suspect Myrna Mabanza used money service businesses to transfer funds to members of the Abu Sayyaf Group

CEBU, Philippines – Law enforcers said Friday, February 16, that Myrna Mabanza, the suspected fund facilitator of Islamic State (IS) forces in the Philippines who was arrested Thursday, used several remittance agencies to finance terrorist activities.

“The amounts involved were from money service businesses. These are the remittance agencies that we identified through intelligence and investigation conducted,” lawyer Emmett Manantan of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) said in a press conference Friday.

Based on reports from law enforcers, Mabanza received money overseas from sources in Malaysia, Turkey, Jordan, Indonesia, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

“Other than receiving money from foreign terrorist sources, Myrna Mabanza is also instrumental in collating these money and then, remitting them to local members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Basilan,” said Department of Justice (DOJ) Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Rex Gingoyon.

Authorities said that Mabanza worked with other facilitators for the movement of the funds.

Gingoyon cited a report that detailed how Mabanza had allegedly remitted money to a certain Norkisa Omar Asnanul, a respondent to the case filed against Mabanza. Asnanul was arrested in December 2023.

“She (Mabanza)m sent P8,000, P8,000, and P50,000 on three occasions and this was through money remittances… when the money remittances were used, it is then where the AMLC was able to flag her down,” Gingoyon said.

DOJ undersecretary Nicholas Felix Ty said that the funds were used to purchase weapons, combat trainers, and to bankroll the travel of fighters from foreign countries.

Besides Asnanul, a suspected terrorist combatant Marsan Ahaddin Ajijul currently detained in Malaysia, was also named as a respondent in Mabanza’s case.

After she was arrested on Thursday, in Sulu, Mabanza was detained at the Regional Criminal Investigation and Detection Group headquarters in Zamboanga City.

As of this writing, the DOJ is conducting an evaluation of the security conditions prior to conducting a trial in Zamboanga City.

“Myrna Mabanza is a high-profile person. The facilities in Zamboanga might not be enough to contain her considering that she has numerous relatives in the Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi (ZamBaSulTa) area,” Gingoyon said.

“Transferring it to Manila, to the facilities in Taguig would ensure that she would be properly guarded under the strictest security protocols and we do have the regional trial courts in Manila and the anti-terrorism courts in Taguig,” said Gingoyon. –

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