PNP yet to confirm Jolo blasts perpetrated by suicide bombers

February 01, 2019

POLICE investigators have done  DNA testing on body parts recovered at the scene of the deadly bombing of the Jolo Cathedral in Sulu last Sunday in order to determine if they came from only one or two persons.

The findings will be used to detemine if the bombing was carried out by “suicide bombers,” Philippine National Police officials said.

Police officials involved in the investigation of the twin bombings maintained that accounts from witnesses and pieces of physical evidence are pointing or leading to that suicide bombing scenario,” said PNP spokesman Senior Superintendent Bernard M. Banac.

“Actually, DNA testing is still being we're just waiting now for the results to determine that indeed, the body parts came from one or two persons that may lead to the conclusion that the attack was a suicide bombing,” said Banac.

Police are working round-the-clock to really determine if suicide bombers were behind the attack at the Mt. Carmel Cathedral in Jolo that killed 22 persons and wounded at least 101 others.

Police earlier absolved four persons of interest who surrendered to officers of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group to clear their names after the military released their photos and CCTV footage showing them near the scene of the bombing.

All statements given by the four have been verified to be true by the police prompting the PNP to clear them of any involvement in the attack.

Banac said the four claimed they were mere bystanders in the area who instinctively run for their safety after the two consecutive explosions hit the Jolo Cathedral.

“Pagkatapos maberepika ang kanilang pagkakakilanlan ayon sa unang pagsusuri ay napatunayan nga na totoo ang kanilang sinasabi, beripikado ng iba pang mga tao, ay malaya rin silang nakaalis sa himpilan ng ating pulisya,” the PNP spokesperson said.

Banac added that none of the four men who surfaced matched the identity of an alias ‘Kamah,’ a brother of slain Abu Sayyaf leader Surakah Ingog who has been accused of involvement in the bombing in retaliation for the death of his sibling.

The 22nd victim identified as Thelma Villanueva died at the Zamboanga City Medical Center on Thursday after her life support was removed with her family’s consent, said Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command spokesman, Colonel Gerry Besana.

Of the 22 killed, six were soldiers, one was a member of the Philippine Coast Guard, and 15 were civilians.

Wounded as a result of the twin explosions were 14 soldiers, two Coast Guard servicemen and 85 civilians.

The bombing has angered President Duterte who ordered a complete lockdown of Jolo.    

Police commandos on Tuesday evening raided the hideout of the suspects in the deadly Jolo Cathedral bombing and shot dead a companion of the terror bombers following a shootout, officials said.

Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Police Regional Office director, Chief Supt. Graciano J. Mijares said the suspect identified as 62-year old Ommal A. Yusop exchanged fire with troopers who stormed their hiding place in Kalimayan Village in Barangay Latih, Patikul, Sulu 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The official said the main targets of the operation identified as one alias “Kamah” and an unidentified cohort managed to escape on foot. The two were tagged as main suspects in the Mount Carmel Cathedral bombing in Jolo, Sulu which killed 21 persons and wounded more than 100 others last Sunday morning.