Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo M. Año today says that the Jolo Cathedral bombing in Sulu, which claimed 23 lives and injured over 100 persons, is considered as solved with the surrender of the five (5) main suspects to government authorities.
“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,” says Año.
The DILG Chief says “the bombers are an Indonesian couple. Identification is a work in progress but it may take time.” This is based on the post blast and forensic investigation, statements from the survivors, and intelligence reports.
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 and his sons Rajan Bakil alias Radjan and Kaisar Bakil alias Isal; and Salit Alih alias Papong.
According to the DILG Secretary, the Philippine National Police is now in hot pursuit of 14 conspirators, including Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan, who are still at large.
“Our security forces, particularly the PNP with the help of the AFP, 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 says.
Año says charges for 23 counts of murder, 95 counts of frustrated murder, and damage to property have been filed against them before the Sulu Provincial Prosecutor’s Office last Monday.
Other respondents include Sawadjaan, Usman Absarah, Barak Ingog, Makrim Abisi, Bapah Absara, one alias Ebing, and several John and Jane Does.
Kudos to police, military
Año lauds the police and the military for their prompt action in investigating and solving the case.
“With this case solved, we are one step closer in giving justice for the death of the victims. Congratulations sa mabilis na aksyon ng ating kapulisan at military!” he says.
The DILG Chief, however, says that government law enforcers should not keep their guard down, remain alert, and intensify security measures in places with high volume of people.
“Patuloy pa rin tayong maging mapagbantay at alerto para na rin sa seguridad at kapakanan ng ating mga mamamayan,” he says.
He also urges the public to report to the police or their barangay any suspicious activities of groups or individuals in their communities.