Police to file charges vs 3 bus blast suspects

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/24 Oct) – Authorities in North Cotabato are set to file on Tuesday at the Provincial Prosecution Office here multiple murder and frustrated murder charges against three suspected bombers they arrested a day after a powerful improvised explosive device (IED) went off along the highway in Matalam town in North Cotabato that killed 10 and wounded more than 20 others.

Cotabato Governor Lala Talinio-Mendoza said investigators are already preparing evidences needed in filing the case against bomb suspects.

But there are conflicting reports as to the names of the suspects.

An officer of the North Cotabato PNP identified the suspects as Torex, Kagui, and Shiang – all surnamed Ulama.

But Lt. Col. Benjamin Hao, spokesperson for the 6th Infantry Division, has named the suspects as Ibrahim Alimanan, Alex Samal, Yazer Talusog, and Abdulh Alib Talusob.

Since Monday is a special non-working holiday due to the barangay elections, the formal complaints would be filed at the office of Provincial Prosecutor Jose de Guzman here on Tuesday.

“What we’re preparing right now is the legal documents before we formalize the charges. We are looking at Tuesday,” she said.

The suspects, she added, would be placed under inquest proceedings.

According to reports from an officer of the newly-created Task Force Rural Transit Bus, the suspects were arrested in Cotabato City, a day after authorities collared a 16-year-old boy who admitted having planted the bomb inside the Rural Transit Bus with body number 2284 on order of the three male suspects.

The teenager, allegedly related to the suspects, was nabbed somewhere in North Cotabato.

A very reliable tipster, according to reports, has identified the teenager to be the same person that carried and left the bag with an IED inside the bus.

The source added that during the investigation, the teenager admitted having participated in the attack on order of the bomb suspects and gave authorities to the three’s whereabouts.

The suspects were nabbed in Cotabato City by elements of the Cotabato City Police Office, Task Force Tugis of the 10th Infantry Division, and Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Region 12.

The arrests came after Mendoza offered a P100,000 reward for anyone who could help authorities identify the blast suspects.

Mendoza, in a radio interview, said part of the reward money had come from the Rural Transit Bus Company. The provincial government and the bus management shouldered the hospital and burial expenses of the blast victims, she added.

“It’s a job well done. As I have said, ‘Trabaho lang.’ Our PNP, LGUs, military, and other concerned civilians did it without fanfare. That’s why within 24 hours we already had a lead. Within 48 hours we already made arrests,” she said. (Malu Cadeliña Manar / MindaNews)