Authorities have ruled out terrorism as motive for deadly bombing on Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Manudadatu’s convoy in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat, and filed charges against two suspects Thursday.
“It is an attack on the person of Gov. Mangudadatu… for now other motives have been ruled out,” acting PNP chief Deputy Dir. Gen. Nicanor Bartolome said in a briefing.
“Until compelling reasons like new evidences are gathered, the personal motive remains,” he told reporters.
Bartolome made the remarks after local police in Sultan Kudarat filed murder and frustrated charges against a certain JR Reyes and Datu Karim Masdal for the bombing.
Reyes, who allegedly owns the KIA Avella sedan used in the attack, has yet to be accounted for by authorities despite releasing a sketch of him Wednesday.
“Apparently, the name JR Reyes must have been fictitious,” Bartolome said.
Masdal, who was arrested Wednesday and is now under police custody, was reportedly seen at the site shortly before Reyes’ car exploded.
“There is a witness in the immediate vicitniy of the blast site who pinpointed or identified this suspect to be the one that left the KIA Avella before the explosion,” Bartolome said.
Senior Supt. Danilo Peralta, Sultan Kudarat provincial police director, said in a phone interview that two counts of murder and six counts of frustrated murder were filed before the fiscal’s office.
Meanwhile, Bartolome advised Mangudadatu to be more careful and coordinate his trips with authorities following the attack.
“The governor has his own schedule so perhaps what is best for him is mag-ingat nang mabuti… siguro ang puwdeng gawin is to for him to coordinate closely with the PNP and the Armed Forces so that wherever he goes mayroon tayong mabibigay na area security,” Bartolome said. (John Roson)
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