By Francis Wakefield
The Armed Forces of the Philippines-Western Mindanao Command (AFP-WestMinCom) on Tuesday, has released the names of the persons killed as a result of the two explosions at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Jolo, Sulu on Sunday.
Colonel Gerry Besana, AFP Westmincom Spokesman, said in a time when people least expect it to occur, two bombs exploded consecutively at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Cathedral in Walled City, Jolo, Sulu, when Catholic believers were attending the regular mass.
Besana said the explosion resulted in 20 deaths (14 civilians, five soldiers, and one Philippine Coast Guard personnel), and 102 wounded (85 civilians, 15 soldiers, and two PCG personnel based on the latest record released at 3 p.m. Monday (January 28, 2019).
Following are the names of those killed at the Sulu blast:
1. Sergeant Mark Des P. Simbre (Inf) PA- from San Isidro, Isabela
2. Corporal John B. Mangawit, Jr. (Inf) PA- from Kalinga
3. Corporal Minard Jann P. Ocier (Inf) PA- from Barangay Managok, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon
4. Private First Class Alizon L. Ayoman (Inf) PA- Kolambugan, Lanao del Norte
5. Private Hernan U. Bulaybulay (Inf) PA- Pagadian City
6. SN2 Jaypee M. Galicha PCG
7. Mr. Leo Herbolario
8. Ms. Bibing Perpetua
9. Mr. Reynaldo Pescadera, Sr.
10. Mr. Ridzmar Mukadil
11. Mr. Romolo B. Reyes
12. Ms. Albacora Perpetua
13. Ms. Niseria Dela Cruz
14. Ms. Cecilia Sanchez
15. Ms. Daisy P. Delos Reyes
16. Ms. Dolores S. Tan
17. Ms. Fe Non
18. Ms. Juliet Jaime
19. Ms. Leah Angelica Reyes
20. Ms. Chenly Rubio.
Besana said eight of the wounded victims (five AFP, one PCG, and two civilians) were airlifted to Zamboanga City onboard an Air Force C-130 aircraft on the evening of January 27.
He said the names of the wounded victims will follow.
Bag left inside church
Meanwhile, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Public Affairs Chief Col. Noel Detoyato, said although there were reports that the incident was due to suicide bombing, some of those who survived the explosions revealed in the course of the investigation that minutes before the blast, they saw a woman leave a bag in the fifth pew of the church coming from the back.
“May iniwan iyung bag umalis yung babae [A woman left a bag] then a few seconds after may sumabog so yun ang [an explosion occurred] so that’s method of deployment,” Detoyato said.
“So hindi siya [So it is not] suicide bombing. So ang [the] method of deployment ng [of the] IED iniwan yung bag ng babae [the woman left the bag] and then remotely, it was remotely detonated. So that would dispel the reports of a suicide bombing,” he. added.
Detoyato said there may be intelligence reports that the incident was due to suicide bombing but this was refuted by the information provided by the victims.
With regards to the second bomb that exploded, it is highly unlikely that it was caused by a vehicle bomb because owners are not allowed to park their vehicles in front of the church.