Jolo twin blasts: Foreign intel points to Yemeni couple

admin   •   January 30, 2019   •   1668

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)

Palace opposes Urban Dictionary definition of ‘Duterte’

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 20, 2019

The Malacañang refuted the Urban Dictionary for defining ‘Duterte’ as ‘to scam, trick, or con.

During a press briefing on Tuesday (Aug 20), Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo will seek to counter the definition on the website.

“‘Duterte’ to us means honest, incorruptible, politically-willed person, courageous, selfless, honest, transparent and all good things…and other synonymous terms,” Panelo said.

The definition was uploaded by an unknown internet user one month ago. Urban Dictionary is crowd-sourced online dictionary for slang words and phrases.

Panelo suspects, the uploader might be a member of anti-Duterte groups.—AAC

Palace: Duterte in good health, went motorcycle-riding over the weekend

Robie de Guzman   •   August 19, 2019

File: President Rodrigo Duterte

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Monday assured that President Rodrigo Duterte is in good health despite being out of the public eye for more than a week now.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the statement amid concerns on Duterte’s health and absence in the past week.

He added that Duterte even went for a motorcycle ride in Davao City over the weekend.

“In fact, he shared to me yesterday, sabi nya, ‘Alam mo ba na I went out sa motorsiklo?’ Nag motorsiklo daw siya sa subdivision niya. Hindi ko na alam kung kahapon yun o the day before,” he said.

“It only shows na kung nakaka-motor siya, he’s in good health,” he added.

Duterte was last seen in public on August 9 when he attended a police event in Camp Crame in Quezon City.  

Panelo said that when not attending any public engagement, the chief executive deals with paperwork and private meetings.

“Ang sabi niya, marami siyang trabaho na mga papeles, binabasa niya isa-isa. Hindi siya makapirma ng hindi niya thoroughly reading these papers,” Panelo said.

“At the same time, meron siyang mga private meetings and courtesy call,” he added.

The president’s health has been a recurring issue given his age.

At 74, Duterte is the oldest to be elected Philippine president in history.

He previously revealed he was suffering from Barret’s esophagus or medically known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, as well as perpetual pain due to a spine injury and constipation. (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte won’t interfere in Cardema-Guanzon row – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   August 19, 2019

File: President Rodrigo Duterte (PCOO)

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Monday said that President Rodrigo Duterte will not interfere with the row between Duterte Youth Party-list nominee Ronald Cardema and Commission on Elections (Comelec) Rowena Guanzon.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Cardema and Guanzon’s feud is between the two of them.

He added that the president will not meddle in the issue as he respects the independence of Comelec and other constitutional bodies.

“The case between Mr. Cardema and Commissioner Guanzon, I think it’s between the two of them,” he said.

“Moreover, the President respects the independence of any constitutional body. The President has not and will not interfere on any function of the Commission as well as other constitutional bodies,” he added.

Guanzon has been vocal about her opposition to Cardema’s nomination as the Duterte Youth Party-list representative and accused the latter as the one behind the threats against her.

Cardema, in turn, accused Guanzon of extortion, which she denied.

The Commissioner also dared the former to file an impeachment case against her.

READ: Comelec 1st division cancels Cardema’s nomination as Duterte Youth party rep

The feud between the two follows the decision of the poll body’s first division to cancel Cardema’s nomination as representative of the Duterte Youth party because the law states that youth representatives must be from 25 to 30 years old.

Instead of having word war, Panelo advised Cardema to file an appropriate complaint against Guanzon to settle the issue. (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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