Año lauds police, military for 'solved' Jolo blast case

By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

February 8, 2019, 1:09 pm

MANILA -- The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) lauded the police and the military for their prompt action in solving the Jolo Cathedral bomb blasts, which claimed 23 lives and injured 95 others.

“As far as the government is concerned, the Jolo bombing case is already solved. We have already identified the perpetrators of the bombing and they are now under police custody. As to the other conspirators, an intensive manhunt is now underway and we will continue to pursue them until all those involved are brought to the bar of justice,” Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said in a statement late Thursday.

“With this case solved, we are one step closer to giving justice for the death of the victims. Congratulations sa mabilis na aksyon ng ating kapulisan at military (Congratulations for the speedy action of our police and military)!” he added.

Citing intelligence reports, survivors' statements and post-blast and forensic investigation, the DILG chief reiterated that an Indonesian couple was behind the blast.

He also stressed that authorities continue to determine the identity of the suspects.

Over the weekend, five suspects linked to the twin bomb attacks at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral surrendered to authorities.

They were identified by PNP Chief, Director General Oscar Albayalde, as Kammah Pae alias Kammah, from Abu Sayyaf Group-affiliated Ajang-Ajang; Albaji Kisae alias Awag, his sons Rajan Bakil alias Radjan, and Kaisar Bakil alias Isal; and Salit Alih alias Papong.

“Our security forces, particularly the PNP with the help of the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines), are conducting an intensified operation to track down and arrest the 14 other accomplices who are involved in the bombing. The long arm of the law will catch up with them sooner than later,” he noted.

Año said charges for 23 counts of murder, 95 counts of frustrated murder, and damage to property have been filed by state lawyers before the Jolo Regional Trial Court (RTC) against the five suspects.

Other respondents are Sawadjaan, Usman Absarah, Barak Ingog, Makrim Abisi, Bapah Absara, one alias Ebing, and several John and Jane Does.

The DILG chief, however, said that government law enforcers should not let their guard down, remain alert, and intensify security measures in places with high volume of people.

He also urged the public to report to the police or their barangay any suspicious activity of groups or individuals in their communities. (PNA)