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DNA sample of suspect in Jolo blasts set for testing

by admin   |   Posted on Friday, February 8th, 2019

DNA samples

The DNA sample and some body parts of the suspected suicide bomber that were recovered from the blast site in Jolo, Sulu are now at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Crime Laboratory.

PNP Crime Laboratory DNA Division chief PSupt. Francis Supe Jr. said the samples include parts from two pairs of feet, bone samples, buccal swabs and tissues from the alleged bombers.

The DNA samples from the buccal swabs will be matched against the DNA patterns of the victims’ relatives.

“Parang magiging cross paternity check para ma-establish talaga yung identity nila not just from very essentials na looking doon sa namatay tapos ikini claim na ito na ang itsura niya,” said Supe.

This will also help reveal the unidentified sample if it fails to match with any of the submitted samples from relatives.

“Makikita natin kung mayroon doon na hindi mati-trace sa mga relatives o sa mga vicitms mismo. So malalaman natin, maka-classify na unidentified yung DNA profile na mage-generate natin,” Supe said.

The test will also determine whether a body part belongs to a man or a woman.

However, the PNP crime lab fears the possibility of not being able to generate a DNA profile in case the samples have decomposed or have been exposed to heat.

“I could not say much kasi di ko talaga na appreciate kung paano kinollect. Kung ang aming SOCO (scene of the crime operatives) personnel sa field ang kumulekta, trained sila and I can vouch na protektahan nila yan at nakolekta nang maayos,” said Supe.

Nevertheless, they are prioritizing the tests and assured to do everything that will help clear whether the alleged suicide bombers are foreigners or not. — Lea Ylagan

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Jolo twin blasts: Foreign intel points to Yemeni couple

by admin   |   Posted on Wednesday, January 30th, 2019

Photo courtesy of Ahmad Sajan

MANILA, Philippines — Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana admitted that President Rodrigo Duterte has received information from intelligence authorities in Singapore about the possible perpetrators in the bombing of a Catholic church in Jolo, Sulu on Sunday (January 27).

Lorenzana said that the President was informed about a Yemeni couple believed to be suicide bombers who planned to sow terror in Jolo.

Such report, Lorenzana said, was the President’s basis for concluding that suicide bombers were behind the tragedy at Mt. Carmel church.

“Marami kasing body parts na nakita kami eh. Meron mga paa doon, may mga part ng ulo, may nakasabit sa fence. It appears to be suicide bombing and I was also convinced immediately na baka suicide bombing iyon,” the president said.

However, Lorenzana said that no group has claimed membership of the two suicide bombers.

“Kapag kasi suicide bombing yan somebody will immediately claim na itong tao na ito ay naging martir. Wala pa namang tayong nakikita na ganoon,” Lorenzana explained.

“Although the ISIS on their website claims that 21 Filipino crusaders died (but) di naman nila sinasabi na itong tao na ito ay naging martir siya because he detonated the bomb,” he added.

To verify the identity and the nationality of the bombers, Lorenzana said they ordered a DNA test on unclaimed human fragments recovered in the blast site.

“Nasa SOCO. You cannot identify. Nobody claimed him ba kung sino siya so we have him/her DNA tested para malaman natin,” the Defense official said.

“I don’t know how we are going to find out who he is by DNA, but maybe we can find out what nationality kung Filipino o foreigner,” he said.

On the other hand, survivors of the blast said they noticed a Filipina who left a package on the fourth row of the churchgoers prior to the blast.

“Mayroon kasing survivor na babae na she was about four seats away from the blast. Napansin daw niya may babae sa unahan niya na medyo balisa at pag-alis daw ay may naiwan na package,” Lorenzana narrated.

“Hindi naman sinabi na yun ang nakita nyang sumabog pero yun ang nakita nya, and that definitely is not suicide bombing,” he added.

There were earlier reports that some 40 foreign terrorists have already entered the country.

Authorities want to find out if a Yemeni couple was among them, whom reports say were the ones behind the Jolo twin blasts. — Marje Pelayo (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

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Duterte says suicide bombers behind Jolo church tragedy

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Wednesday, January 30th, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte and other government officials visited the blast site in Jolo, Sulu on January 28, 2019 | (Photo courtesy of Christopher Bong Go)

MALABON CITY, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is convinced by the  suicide angle in the twin explosions in Mt. Carmel Cathedral in Jolo, Sulu on Sunday (January 27), contrary to earlier claims of the military.

The President himself revealed that the bombers were a man and a woman based on information provided by a source.

President Duterte also belied security lapses on the part of the government forces in the incident. 

“Walang lapses doon because the other bomber was outside. There was no reason for him to be frisked. Either he was just passing by before blowing himself up. Ang problema, iyan ang… Kasi ‘yung babae, almost wearing a cross pa. malaki ang cross sa dibdib niya so who would ever think,” the Chief Executive revealed in an ambush interview with reporters  during the groundbreaking for the soon-to-be erected San Lorenzo Ruiz General Hospital in Barangay Panghulo, Malabon City on Tuesday (January 30).

It was not revealed, however, if the suicide bombers were Filipinos or foreign nationals.

Meanwhile, the President strongly believes it was the Abu Sayyaf Group that was behind the incident.

This prompted the President to order government forces to pursue all enemies of the state by whatever means.

“Yes, that is always my order. Destroy the Abu Sayyaf, destroy the NPA and destroy the drug organization. If destroying is killing, if you are interested to know, yes. Better para sa akin,” President Duterte said.

The Chief Executive, however, did not give a timeline but according to AFP Westmincom Spokesperson Lt. Col. Gerry Besana, they were given clear marching orders.

“Yung marching order ni presidente hindi na kailangang i-elaborate e “run after them” alam mo naman magsalita ang presidente natin e hindi mo na kailangan tanungin siya kung paano,” Besana said.

Now that the military is expected to engage in an all-out-war with the terrorists, they are seeking support from the public, especially from the residents of Jolo.

“Nakikipagiyera kaming military sa Abu Sayyaf but people should be behind us,” the Army official said.

“The necessary support. Alam naman natin iyan. Unang una karamihan dyan sa mga abu sayyaf and all other terrorist groups are local. May mga kamag-anak yan… kasi yun ang problema natin pag kapatid mo ang nagkasala itinatago mo,” Besana explained.

Meanwhile, the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) is confident that the tragedy would not affect the outcome of the peace negotiations or the transition to the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

The group appealed to the entire Muslim community to unite to finally end their decades-long quest for peace in their region.

“Iwasan na natin yung mga giyera-giyera na yan eh let us invite investors so that…we need help here our people here is dying and suffering huwag na tayong magsiraan,” noted NCMF Regional Director Dr. Zulfikar Abantas. — Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rosalie Coz/Dante Amento)

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Military in hot pursuit of ASG-linked ‘Ajang-Ajang’ members over Jolo blasts

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Tuesday, January 29th, 2019

Captured image of the suspects in the twin blasts that hit Jolo, Sulu. According to Ltc. Gerry Besana, the photo shows alias Kamah holding the mobile phone that served as a triggering device of the bomb that ripped through the cathedral on Sunday at 8:00 a.m. | Courtesy of Ltc. Gerry Besana, AFP WestMinCom

MANILA, Philippines – Authorities are now in pursuit of the perpetrators behind the fatal blasts in a church in Jolo, Sulu on Sunday (January 27).

CCTV footage recovered from establishments near the blast site showed three of the bombing suspects.

The authorities identified the suspects as members of the Abu Sayyaf affiliated group Ajang-Ajang, notoriously known for kidnapping, extortion, liquidation of soldiers, police and civilians among other crimes in urban Sulu.

“Basically itong Ajang-Ajang na to either kapatid (o) anak nitong mga Abu Sayyaf din. Ito ang mga bata kaya itong mga ito basically ay members ng Abu Sayyaf also,” noted PNP Chief DG Oscar Albayalde.

AFP Western Mindanao Command Spokesperson Lt. Col. Gerry Besana noted that one of the three persons captured in the CCTV footage was known as alias ‘Kamah’, a brother of ASG sub-leader Surakah Ingog who was killed in a clash with the military.

‘Kamah’ was the one in blue green jacket and the one who clicked the triggering device.

“Sila talaga. Nakita ang pagpitik sa cellphone sakto sa pagsabog and at the same time 100 per cent ang identification. Kilalang kilala iyan. Hindi iyan bago. Hindi iyan iba dyan sa lugar. Ang problema hindi iyan itinuturo,” Besana confirmed.

Besana noted that ‘Kamah’ was a skilled bomb maker similar to his late brother.

This manifested from the fragments recovered from the blast site.

According to PNP Chief Albayalde, the materials used in the improvised explosive device (IED) were not common.

“Ang container na ginamit ditto ay handmade probably made of G.I. sheet na medyo makapal at ang nilalaman nito sa lakas ng blasts ay 2 kilos pataas ang nagamit na explosives substance,” Albayalde said.

BGen. Besana confirmed, meanwhile, that residents in Jolo know the suspects very well because they, too, are residents in the place. However, they remain tight-lipped in fear of their safety.

“Kilala iyan ng mga tagariyan na Tausug. Kahit nandyan, hindi nila isinusumbong kasi takot sila,” Besana said.

The military is appealing to residents not to cover up for the suspects. Instead, inform the authorities of their true identity for their immediate capture. — Marje Pelayo (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

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