Philippines deports Australian ‘jihadist’

July 24, 2014 - 1:45:00 am

MANILA: An Australian Islamic preacher who openly supports jihadists online was deported from the Philippines and local authorities would continue to keep him under surveillance after his return to the Oceanic country.

Robert Edward Cerantonio, commonly known as Musa, has suspected links with the extremist militant group Islamic State, previously known as  Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, fighting a war in the Middle East against the Syrian and Iraqi governments.

Cerantonio, who used to be a Catholic and converted to Islam when he was 17, was arrested in Lapu-Lapu City on July 11 at the behest of the Australian government. His Filipino girlfriend, Joan Navarro Montayre, a freelance costume production designer, was also arrested for allegations of fraud. Police in Lapu-Lapu City said she and Cerantonio had failed to settle their hotel bill.

The Australian Federal Police met him at the airport when he arrived in Melbourne last morning and interrogated him.

Cerantonio was deported due to “invalid travel documentation” and overstaying. He boarded Passenger Airlines flight PR209 to Melbourne at 10 pm on Tuesday night (Manila time). Police believe he had been living in the country since 2013.