THE National Bureau of Investigation has been ordered to assist local authorities in investigating the twin explosions in Jolo, Sulu last Monday which claimed the lives of at least 14 persons and injured scores of others.
"Immediately after the explosions, I gave instructions to the NBI to secure the blast area and preserve any and all evidence. A forensic team should be there by now," said Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra.
NBI is an attached agency of the Department of Justice.
As of this writing, the death toll had risen to 14, with seven soldiers, six civilians, and one police killed in the two blasts.
At least 75 people were wounded – 48 civilians, 21 soldiers, three local police, and three olice Special Action Force personnel.
The first explosion happened at around 11:55 a.m., when an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded near Paradise Food Plaza along Serantes Street, Barangay Walled City in downtown Jolo.
Six soldiers were killed in the first blast.
A second explosion occurred at around 1:15 p.m. along Sanchez Street, near a branch of the Development Bank of the Philippines, in front of New Trading store, also in Barangay Walled City.
The blast killed one more soldier and wounded at least three soldiers and six police.
Malacañang denounced the bombings “in the strongest possible terms.”
“We likewise condole with the families and loved ones of those who died in these tragic incidents,” President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesperson, Harry Roque, said in a statement.