MANILA, Philippines – Children as young as 2- and 10-years-old were included in an “arrest order” against Maute clan members, the government news agency said, 18 of whom on Wednesday trooped to the National Bureau of Investigation to clear their names.
The clan members were accompanied by National Commission on Muslim Filipinos director for South Luzon Dalomilang Parahiman. Parahiman said the Mautes included some of his own relatives who are also from Lanao del Sur.
“They are law-abiding citizens. Their only crime is their surname is Maute,” Parahiman said. He noted that most of them have been living in Manila for more than 30 years.
The NCMF official said “clan members as young as 2 and 10 were included in the government arrest order,” the Philippine News Agency reported, apparently for simply carrying the same surnames as some of the members of the extremist group.
The 18 Mautes who presented themselves to the NBI in in Manila on Wednesday all denied links to the gunmen battling government forces in Marawi City, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said. The PNA quoted the justice secretary as saying the clan members, among them women and the two children, “surrendered,” adding, “dadaan po sila sa ordinary process dito sa NBI, kukunan sila ng mga katanungan (they will go through the ordinary process at the NBI and undergo questioning).”
“I tasked the NBI to conduct the investigation on the surrenderers pursuant to Arrest Order No. 1 signed by martial law administrator Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (which) orders (the) arrest of 125 Maute group members for rebellion,” Aguirre said.
He said some of the clan members flew to Manila just days before violence broke out in Marawi and were supposed to go to Saudi Arabia on pilgrimage.
Report from Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan, Philippine News Agency