Oro blast task group needs more credible witnesses-A A +A
Saturday, August 17, 2013
MORE credible witnesses who could identify and testify against the suspects of Rosario Arcade blast on July 26 are needed by the Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) to strengthen the charges before they can be filed in court.
A discreet meeting involving some of the ranking officials in the country held here Wednesday discussed further the identities of the suspected individuals who are allegedly members of a terror group based in Mindanao.
Police Superintendent Michael John Deloso, SITG spokesperson, said witnesses who pointed to primary suspect Usman Hapids and his group, Khilafah Islamiyah Movement (KIM), to be responsible for the terror act are still considered “weak.”
Deloso said the SITG has only come up with a collection of the descriptions of the suspects based on the witnesses’ accounts, but no one has given more credible statements.
He said it is very likely that the court would dismiss the charges against the suspects if there are no witnesses who can come forward and identify the culprits in court.
General Ricardo Visaya, the commanding general of 4th Infantry Division, told reporters that the bombing was terrorism after the inter-agency meeting with Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, Defense secretary Voltaire Gazmin, also chair of Anti-Terror Council, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Armed Forces Chief to Staff Emmanuel Bautista and Police Chief Alan Purisima.
Authorities have ruled out threats against Mayor Oscar Moreno and the his ‘Hapsay Dalan’ program.
But Deloso, chief of the Cagayan de Oro City Police Office’ (Cocpo) investigation and detective management branch, said it’s not yet final.
“As to the motive of the incident, we cannot conclude it yet as our investigation is still ongoing. But we cannot discount all possibilities. But we still need more credible witnesses to impress the court and eventually would issue warrants of arrests in our favor,” he said.
Terrorism, Deloso added, is the angle that authorities are looking at since bombing is a tactic of terrorists.
“Our effort right now is to look for more credible witnesses that could really point Usman Hapids (and his group) in court as responsible of the blast, how we would be able to make the court believe in the witnesses,” he said.
Deloso said they have come up with the names of individuals and terrorist groups, “but how can the court believe that these suspects were really behind it?”
Delososaid intelligence reports alone cannot win the case.
“But it can help a lot to the investigation,” he clarified.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 17, 2013.