Cotabato mall bombing suspects charged

By Noel Punzalan

January 10, 2019, 1:28 pm

COTABATO CITY -- Police have filed charges against two suspects, in connection with the Dec. 31, 2018 blast at the facade of South Seas mall here that killed two and injured dozens of others.

In a statement, Chief Supt. Eliseo Tam Rasco, director of Police Regional Office –12 (Soccsksargen), said that cases for two counts of murder and 34 counts of frustrated murder docketed have been filed against suspects Salipudin Lauban Pasandalan (arrested), of Barangay Upper Capiton, and a certain Saed Nur Kasim (at large) of Barangay Dalican, both of Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao.

The Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) “South Seas” has filed charges against the suspects before the Office of Prosecutor Anwar Masacal of the Cotabato City Prosecution Office here shortly before 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Authorities said the suspects planted two improvised explosive devices (IEDs), one of which, exploded at the facade of the South Seas mall around 2 p.m., while the other bomb was found and disarmed by military bomb disposal experts near the second-floor baggage counter of the mall.

Rasco said the latest bombing incident posed a challenge to the peace and order situation in Region 12 but countermeasures have been immediately implemented to address the problem and prevent its recurrence.

“We conducted meeting with other law enforcement agencies, local executives, and stakeholders to prevent or once and for all stop this incident from happening again in the future,” he said.

The police official also asked communities to be extra vigilant and report to them any suspicious activity that poses a threat to security.

“We need everybody to report to our law enforcers any suspicious looking person and any bags or backpacks or anything left unattended,” he said. (PNA)