The Abu Sayyaf group reportedly had plots to kidnap boxing champion Manny Pacquiao and celebrity presidential sister Kris Aquino as part of the bandit group’s effort to gain favor with extremist Islamic State (IS), as President Aquino revealed in a statement.
“They allegedly even hatched plots to kidnap Manny Pacquiao or one of his children, as well as my sister Kris or one of her children, with the plan to use them in bargaining for the release of their cohorts. Threats against my own life have been investigated,” Aquino said.
Aquino said that Isnilon Hapilon, one of the bandit leaders through his cohorts in prison tried to convert other inmates in the national penitentiary to their cause and establish ties with remnants of the Rajah Sulayman Movement, in an attempt to embark on a bombing campaign in Metro Manila.
The President said no improvised explosive device that is attributable to the group of Hapilon had been found.
“We have monitored their activities, unraveled their network and arrested key players, while some of the minor players already on the run are being hunted down. I credit our security services for putting these threats to bed with both professionalism and discretion. The public may rest assured that they may go about their daily lives without fear or unease,” Aquino said.
“However, we want to continue to seriously erode any ability of the Abu Sayyaf to continue to function. This is the reason we are conducting continuing operations in Basilan versus Isnilon Hapilon and his sub-leader, Furuji Indama,” the President said.
Aquino promised to take down the Abu Sayyaf before he steps down from office in June, and smashing the Abu Sayyaf group is now within sight.