Philippines deports Australian Islamic preacher
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine authorities said Thursday they deported an Australian Islamic preacher suspected of links to terrorists based on YouTube videos allegedly showing him advocating jihad and urging local Muslims to support militants in the Middle East.
Robert Cerantonio, alias Musa, was accompanied on a flight to Melbourne late Tuesday by four Filipino immigration agents, said Elaine Tan, spokeswoman for the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation.
Tan said Cerantonio was deported for being an “undocumented foreign national” after the Australian government canceled his passport. He was arrested two weeks ago in central Cebu province’s Lapu-Lapu city but faced no formal charges, she said.
Philippine police said Cerantonio had called for jihad on YouTube and lectured Filipino Muslims to support the Islamic militant group also known as ISIS or ISIL that controls parts of Iraq and Syria.
The Australian Federal Police said that Cerantonio’s social media postings were “offensive and disturbing” but did not violate Australia’s law. It said in a statement that the police “will continue to monitor and assess this material for any breaches of Australian law into the future.”
Cerantonio had been living in the country since 2013, according to Philippine authorities. Police Senior Superintendent Conrad Capa has said that the Australian government had coordinated with Philippine police to locate Cerantonio, who was under surveillance by local authorities for two weeks prior to his arrest.