"Big time na pala ako kasi i-a-assassinate ako," Dela Rosa joked while speaking to policemen at the 23rd National Police College anniversary in Silang, Cavite.
Dela Rosa said the assassination attempt was to be carried out during his visit to Marawi City on January 25, when he delivered a speech to his alma mater, Mindanao State University.
"Report sa akin ng PNP at army doon sa ARMM (Autonomous region of Muslim Mindanao), when I was the guest of honor and speaker doon sa commencement exercises ng Mindanao State University, na-uncover nila. May nahuli silang miyembro ng Maute group," said the PNP chief.
The plot was discovered during a tactical interrogation by authorities on an alleged member of the Maute Group identified as Eyemen Alonto.
Based on the tactical interrogation report sent to Dela Rosa, the Maute Group had planned to kill the PNP chief by using a roadside bomb or shooting him while inside the university campus.
But the assassination plot was aborted due to the tight security measures during his visit there.
"Hindi nila na-carry-out ang kanilang mission kasi natakot sila; kasi buong MSU community ng mga graduate ng MSU, kung saan ako pumupunta, nandoon sila. Grabe ang aking kurdon, ang aking close-in security...buong gymnasium kaya hindi sila makalapit para bumaril sa akin," the police chief added. "they weren't able to carry out their mission because they were afraid; the whole MSU community of graduates of MSU, wherever I went, they were there too. My cordon, close-in security was tight...the whole gymnasium so they could not get near me to shoot me.")
Maute Group member Alonto was arrested in Iligan City on Februayr 24 due to his involvement in a carjacking incident.
"May members ng Maute Group. Nag-carnap ng bagong sasakyan, pinababa ang mga pasahero tapos sumibat. Magaling ang action ng Iligan City police at SAF (Special Action Forces), na-intercept. Nakipagbarilan so niratrat. Patay ang dalawang carnapper tapos yung isa later on nahuli. Kasi nagseparate sila. Yung isa, kinonfirm niya na miyembro siya ng Maute group at gagamit ang sasakyan for their terror activities," Dela Rosa said.
(Translation: "there were members of the Maute group. They stole a new car, ordered the passengers to get out, and they escaped. The Iligan City police and SAF intercepted them. They engaged in a gunfight. Two carnappers were killed and another captured because they were separated. One of them confirmed that he was a member of the Maute group and they were going to use the car for their terror activities.")
The Defense Department says the Maute Group has links to the terror group ISIS. The Maute Group along with the Abu Sayyaf bandits are the targets of the government's all-out war against terror groups in the southern Philippines.
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