Authorities are investigating a “possible link” between the deadly bombing on Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu’s convoy in Sultan Kudarat and the massacre two years ago where several of his supporters were killed.

“Siguro may link doon sa ongoing criminal case… Isa po ‘yan sa mga tinitingnan natin at ‘yan naman ay ‘di napakalayo,” Dir. Felicisimo Khu, head of the PNP Directorate for Integrated Police Operations in Western Mindanao, said in a phone interview.

“Even Governor Mangudadatu admitted publicly that he was the target, eh sino lang naman ang kalaban niya doon?” Khu added.

Mangudadatu’s wife and several relatives were among 57 people who were shot to death in Maguindanao on November 23, 2009 while on the way to file his certificate of candidacy as governor.

Several Ampatuan clan members, who were then holding posts including ARMM regional governor, Maguindanao provincial governor, and Datu Unsay town mayor, are currently facing charges for the massacre.

Khu admitted they have yet to gather evidence against the Ampatuan family or its armed supporters, but said it was easy to presume that Mangudadatu was the target of the bombing.

Meanwhile, the police official said the death toll in the blast rose to two on Tuesday as Maguindanao Provincial Board Member Rusman Sinsuat Sr. expired at the Tamondong Hospital 12:13 a.m.

Sinsuat’s black Toyota Fortuner, the third vehicle in Mangudadatu’s convoy, bore the brunt of the explosion.

The bomb is believed to be made of a 105-millimeter Howitzer ammunition because of its destructive power, Khu said. “The car where it was hidden was totally blown away.”

The car, a white Kia Avella (MDJ-274) was owned by Maureen Macasandil of Davao City, who sold it to a certain JR Reyes of Cotabato City for P65,000 on August 5, according to the police official.

Meanwhile, Khu said Sinsuat’s son Rusman Jr., who is among six people injured, lost his right leg and was transferred via helicopter to Davao City 11:35 a.m. Tuesday for further treatment. (John Roson)

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