THE Philippine government is set to begin processing a request from the United States to extradite a Filipino suspect in a thwarted jihadist plot targeting New York’s subway system and Times Square in May 2016.
Thirty seven-year-old orthopedic surgeon Russell Salic has been charged for his alleged involvement in a plan to carry out attacks in the name of the Islamic State (IS) group during the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan last year.
Salic was accused of sending money to fund the attacks. According to U.S. court documents released on Friday, October 6, he sent $423 to the other suspects for the operation.
U.S. authorities said the FBI agent posed as an IS supporter and communicated with Salic and two other alleged plotters: 19-year-old Canadian Abdulrahman El Bahnasawy and 19-year-old American citizen living in Pakistan Talha Haroon.
The U.S. Department of Justice said it has requested Salic’s extradition following his arrest in the Philippines in April of this year.
In a statement, Palace Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the Philippine government will initiate the extradition proceedings as requested by the U.S.
According to him, the Philippine Department of Justice (DOJ) will continue its preliminary investigation on the local complaint against Salic while extradition proceedings are being processed.
In the Philippines, Salic is under investigation over the abduction of six and the murder of two sawmill workers in April in the province of Lanao del Sur, located at the southern part of the country.
He is also accused of being connected with the Maute terrorists, the IS-pro group behind the attack in Marawi City, also in Lanao del Sur.
“The Philippines shares information and extends full cooperation with partners on matters pertaining to terrorism,” the Palace official said.
According to Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief General Eduardo Año, Salic is currently in the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
Año said Salic sent funds to other nations for the “IS terrorist network.”
“He is providing financial support to several extremists or suspicious terrorists in the Middle East, in the U.S., and Malaysia from 2014 up to 2016. (He) has been under watch and surveillance for his suspicious activities in coordination with allied foreign intel agencies,” Año told reporters.
“He was very active on social media, websites that groups related to ISIS have been using,” the AFP chief added.