Suicide bomber behind Sulu attack: Lorenzana

MANILA -Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Monday said the bomb attack at the tactical command post of the 1st Brigade Combat Team (1BCT) in Barangay Kajatian, Indanan, Sulu that killed eight persons and wounded 22 others last June 28 is a suicide bombing.

"That is evident from the report of the soldiers because this guy (the alleged bomber) knocked on the gate (of the tactical command post) so the guard went near to ask what the person need, when the guard was at the gate the person exploded so this is obviously a suicide bombing," he added when asked about this possibility.

He issued this comment in an interview with reporters shortly after the inauguration of the Disaster Emergency Logistics Systems for Asean (DELSA) Phase II warehouse in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City Monday.

"Yes, personally I think it's a suicide bombing because he was carrying the bomb and he detonated it within the perimeter, there were two of them actually," the DND chief added.

He also stressed that martial law is not the answer to every security threat in response to comments on how could such an attack happen when Mindanao is still under the martial law.

Also, the movement of the people is not restricted in the island.

"Martial law actually is not the solution to all these because anybody, an individual or two individuals can just go anywhere because we have not controlled the movement of people in Mindanao, you can basically go anywhere you want without any checkpoints sometimes, you just go, let them go, we just have checkpoints in areas that are dangerous, from one island to another but within the island you can go anywhere you want to go," the DND chief emphasized.

Regarding ISIS claims of having perpetrated the bombing, Lorenzana said that they are still checking and waiting for DNA test results to back up their conclusions.

"ISIS claimed responsibility but we are checking, in fact somebody said the bombers were Indonesians, somebody said Filipinos but let us wait our conclusion until we get (to) the, checking of the DNA of these people," he added.

Earlier reports claimed that the remains of the alleged bomber were recovered by investigators on the scene and submitted for forensic test. The DND chief also emphasized that they are still checking the extent of ISIS' networks in the Philippines along with reports that Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Hatib Sawadjaan is the leader of Islamic State-linked groups in the country.

"We're still checking, that's the news coming out but we still have to check with, our friends in the Middle East, the Americans, the other security agencies," he added. Also, Lorenzana said the security forces in Metro Manila and other urban centers nationwide have to be very vigilant to prevent a repeat of the incident.

As this developed, President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Sunday honored one of three troopers of the 1BCT, killed in the June 28 bombing attack, through the awarding of the Order of Lapu-Lapu Sunday.

The Chief Executive attended the wake of Cpl. Richard Macababbad at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City and handed to the fallen soldier's mother the Kalasag Medal under the Order of Lapu-Lapu, Philippine Army (PA) spokesperson, Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala said in a statement Monday.

He added the trooper was posthumously awarded for losing his life as a direct result of the PA's operations in support to the anti-terrorism campaign of the President.

Macabaddad died in Indanan, Sulu, on June 28 along with Pfc. Recarte D. Alban Jr. and Pfc. Dominique C. Inte. Twelve other soldiers were also wounded during the bombing.

The Order of Lapu-Lapu was created in 2017 through Executive Order 35. This is an award given to officials and personnel of the government in recognition of their invaluable service in support to the President's advocacy.

It is composed of four medals namely the Magalong, Kalasag, Kampilan, and Kamagi.

The PA is grateful for the Commander-in-Chief's concern to our fallen comrades and their families. Our soldiers are aware of the risks that they have to face as they fulfill their duty to serve and protect the people. This recognition serves as a reminder to each of us that our sacrifices matter to our people, Zagala added. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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