PNP waiting for DNA results of body parts found in Jolo blasts
The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Friday said they are waiting for DNA results from recovered body parts in the bombed cathedral in Jolo to confirm if the suspects were suicide bombers.
Senior Supt. Bernard Banac, PNP spokesman, said in an interview with reporters that based on their Special Investigation Task Group, the investigation is heading towards determining suicide bombers were the suspects.
"We are just waiting for the DNA confirmation. All the evidence and witnesses are pointing towards that direction that there is a possible suicide bombing incident," Banac said.
Last Tuesday, President Rodrigo Duterte said it is possible suicide bombers from the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group were responsible on the twin blasts that rocked a cathedral in Jolo, Sulu last January 27.
Banac said the DNA result will determine if all recovered body parts belong to one or two persons.
He said families of the victims were able to confirm that all the body parts are there or no parts of their relative is missing.
"Based on the interview on the family of all the victims, they said that they were able to recover all the body parts or no part is missing from their loved ones," said Banac.
He said the communication is going on who will announce the official report of the DNA results as they are working with the National Bureau of Investigation and Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Banac said three witnesses were firm in saying a female wearing a backpack entered the church and sat on the pew where the bomb exploded.
But on the second explosion, they have yet to look for a witness to find out if that person is the husband of the woman who wore the backpack.
"For now, there are no witnesses that can say she is with someone that could be the second suicide bomber," said Banac.
Senior Supt. Pablo Labra II, Sulu provincial director, said in a press conference said they were able to gather affidavits of 36 witnesses.
"Based on the witnesses, they saw a female...her height is about 5'2 or 5'3, (and) slim who entered the church and sat on the exact place (of) the first explosion," Labra said.
"You know, in their cathedral, they know each other. So the witnesses' attention were caught because she is not familiar. Aside from that, they told the investigators that her moves are suspicious," he added.
The witnesses also told investigators the female concealed her backpack through her jacket.
"It was also mentioned in the affidavit that she was carrying at her back, appearing to be a backpack. The woman is wearing a gray or dark jacket with hood," said Labra.
He said the recovered foot of a male and female are being subjected to forensic examination.
Banac said Jolo is slowly returning to normal but stricter checkpoints and security measures are being implemented. Ella Dionisio/DMS