Raps filed vs. at least 20 people allegedly involved in Jolo bombing

Criminal charges were filed against at least 20 people who were allegedly involved in the Jolo bombing last August 24, Police Lieutenant Colonel Kris Conrad Gutierrez, spokesperson of the special investigation, said.

However, Gutierrez did not disclose the names of the individuals as police continue their operations to locate the suspects.

“We filed cases [before] the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor last September 4. We filed 15 cases sa first blast and then 14 cases sa second blast. Unfortunately, we cannot divulge the names of the suspects because of the ongoing follow-up operations against them,” Gutierrez said.

Though he did not name the suspects, the official said most of the suspects were members of the Abu Sayyaf Group, while authorities are still checking the affiliations of the others.

“Definitely, some of them are ASG members pero tinitingnan pa rin po natin ‘yung affiliation ng ibang personalities,” Gutierrez said.

“Kung ganito kadami, hindi lang namin malaman, baka iisa rin lang naman ‘to. Sila-sila lang din ang nagplano, maybe 15 personality, sila lang ‘yung nagplano ng una, ng pangalawa,” he added.

Gutierrez also said the military now considers the driver, who transported one of the bombers to the Jolo bombing sites, as a person of interest.

“Nagvoluntary surrender po itong ating tricycle driver at iniimbestigahan na po ng Jolo MPS. Inaalam pa po natin kung siya ba ay wala talagang kinalaman…” Gutierrez said.

The military earlier said Mundi Sawadjaan was the mastermind of the Jolo bombing as well as the previous attacks in Sulu. Vinluan said Sawadjaan is still in Patikul and not in Zamboanga.

Jolo bombing update

Meanwhile, DNA testing confirmed that the female suicide bombers were Asians.

However, the DNA tests were not able to identify whether the suicide bombers were Filipinos, Guitierrez said.

“‘Yung result po ng DNA doon sa dalawang accordingly na suicide bombers ay both Asian female. Ang DNA po kasi ay nagbabased sa evidence, ‘yung evidence po na nakalap natin based on the Crime Lab ay sila po ay Asian female,” Gutierrez said in a phone interview.

Aside from the nationality, the tests conducted by the Crime Laboratory also did not determine the bombers’ age.