By Francis Wakefield
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana Wednesday said if indeed the two explosions that rocked Jolo, Sulu were caused by suicide bombers somebody will immediately claim that the said person or persons are martyrs.
Lorenzana made the remark during a press briefing at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
“But kapag kasi sa suicide bombing na iyan [If it’s a suicide bombing] somebody will immediately claim na itong taong ito naging martir [that this person is a martyr],” Lorenzana said.
“Wala pa naman tayong nakikitang ganon eh [We haven’t seen anything like that],” he added.
The defense chief said although the ISIS in their website claimed that the 21 Filipino crusaders died, they did not mention that the person/s is a martyr.
Lorenzana also said that as far as he is concerned, there are no Filipino’s that became a suicide bomber.
“Wala pa namang Pilipino na nag-suicide bombing eh. So questionable pa yan [its still questionable]. The final conclusion is not being held, still being investigated,” Lorenzana said.
“So iyung ngayon ang tinitignan natin [So that’s what we are looking] is it suicide bombing or not?],” he added.
Lorenzana said another thing they are looking at is if the second bomb that exploded outside Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Cathedral in Walled City, Jolo, Sulu on Sunday was indeed caused by a suicide bomber, they have to check whether the suspect is Filipino or foreigner.
“Ang sabi nila kung suicide bombing iyun baka iyun ang ginamit na pang-trigger eh, so although kung nakita natin iyung mga body parts eh, hindi lang kasi yung tao na iyun, kasi ‘di ma-identify, kalahati ng mukha ng tao nasa SOCO. You cannot identify, nobody claim him na kung sino siya [They said if its suicide bombing, that’s what triggered it. Although when we saw the body parts, not only that person, we cannot identify it, half of the face of the person it’s already with SOCO. You cannot identify, nobody claims who he is],” Lorenzana said.
”So we’re trying to have him, have her DNA tested so how we’re going to find out, maybe we can find out the nationality, Filipino or foreigner, because there are claims that a foreigner committed the suicide bombing,” he added.
When asked what was the basis of President Rodrigo Duterte when he said that a Yemeni’s couple were behind the suicide bombing, Lorenzana said that is according to some reports from outside, coming from a reliable security analyst.
“That is according to some reports from outside, natanggap ko rin yun eh [I also received that] .Yemeni, they are Yemeni couple,” Lorenzana said.
“There are all, we have to validate. Di pa natin alam talaga na Yemeni yan [We still don’t know if its Yemeni or not]. Kagaya nga ng sinabi ko kanina [Like what I said earlier],everytime there is a suicide bomber when he dies, there is claim by some groups of ISIS that these two they are…. Wala pa tayong nakikita, wala pa [We haven’t seen, there’s none],” he said.
When asked if he is bothered by the bombings, just like what happened in Lamitan. Basilan in July of last year which was said to be perpetrated by a Moroccan national, Lorenzana said yes.
“Iyung namatay kasi sa Basilan, it appears na may nagsasabi some people from the outside sabi kuwan daw yun suicide bomber na Moroccan, Moroccan daw iyun. This is very alarming kasi kung ganyan marami pa tayong mga kalaban na nandito na nasa labas…foreign fighters. Although meron silang mino-monitor na 40 daw na nasa loob. Scattered sa Mindanao, Basilan sa Jolo,” Lorenzana said.
“Kung foreign terrorists iyan. Indonesian o Malaysian, hindi mo makilala ang itsura kasi pare-pareho mukha natin eh. Huwag lang sila magsalita,” he added.
Lorenzana also said that an airstrike was launched by the military to crush the Abu Sayyaf and Ajang-Ajang groups.
Lorenzana earlier said there are two bombs that exploded one after the other within 1.5 minutes. The first bomb that exploded inside the church was apparently left behind by a certain woman.
“This is according to a hazy recollection of a survivor sitting four pews behind the explosion,” Lorenzana said.
The DND chief said the second bomb that exploded at the entrance about a minute and a half after, may have been a suicide bomber as indicated by body parts strewn all over including half a face and neck and two feet.
“The identity of this person is still a mystery and is under investigation by the PNP SOCO. The investigators also found a soldier with severed torso,” Lorenzana said.
“It is more likely that the second bomb was caused by a suicide bomber,” he added.
Armed Forces Public Affairs Chief Col. Noel Detoyato, said the suicide bombing angle came out Monday night.
He said a thorough investigation is being conducted to determine the circumstances surrounding the incident.