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PNP: Jolo blasts considered solved

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THE Philippine National Police (PNP) disclosed Tuesday that the twin explosions at a cathedral in Jolo, Sulu, last month has already been solved with the surrender of the five suspects and the filing of charges against them.

However, Senior Superintendent Bernard Banac, PNP spokesperson, noted that the case cannot be considered “closed” yet as deeper investigation is still being conducted to arrest at least 14 other suspects, including Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan.

“This case is solved but not yet closed. This means that the suspects were already placed under police custody and the charges against them were already filed. We cannot close the case yet because pursuit operations are still on-going against the other at-large suspects,” Banac said.

The twin explosions occured at Our Lady of Mount Carmel on January 27 which resulted in the death of 23 persons.

Over the weekend, five suspects linked to the twin bomb attacks at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral surrendered to authorities, according to PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde.

They were identified 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.

Charges for 23 counts of murder, 95 counts of frustrated murder, and damage to property were filed against them and 14 other suspects before the Sulu Provinvial Prosecutor’s Office on Monday.

Other respondents include Sawadjaan, Usman Absarah, Barak Ingog, Makrim Abisi, Bapah Absara, one alias Ebing, and several John and Jane Does.

Earlier, Albayalde said Kammah Pae and his cohorts were “forced” to surrender “out of fear for their lives” because of the massive pursuit operations being conducted by the police and military.

Albayalde also noted that Kammah Pae admitted to being part of the Ajang-Ajang Group but denied his involvement in the Jolo cathedral bombing.

Banac, for his part, maintained that the “Kammah” they had in custody is the same person that the police and military have been hunting all along.

On the other hand, he said the police and military will continue to work on “further developments” of the case.

“Our coordination with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is continuous. We have created a special investigation task group [SITG Mount Carmel] to monitor further developments,” Banac said.

Meanwhile, Senior Superintendent Edgar Monsalve, Intelligence Group (IG) director, confidently said that the suspect “Kammah” they identified through intelligence monitoring and the “Kammah” who surrendered to authorities “is one and the same person.”  (Martin A. Sadongdong)

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Written by Tempo Desk

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