A TOP police official said Saturday that Thursday’s bombing incident in Zamboanga airport was related to the bombing incident near the Sulu provincial capitol in May 2009.
Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Jesus Verzosa said the primary target in both bombing incidents was Sulu Governor Abdusaakur Tan.
Verzosa said the PNP is looking into political angle in Thursday’s bomb attack.
Two people were killed while 24 others, including Tan and a British national, were wounded when a bomb exploded around 6:15 p.m. Thursday outside the arrival area of the Zamboanga International Airport terminal building.
In May 13, 2009, Tan and 10 others were wounded when a bomb loaded in a parked motorcycle exploded while Tan's convoy was leaving the provincial capitol grounds in Patikul, Sulu shortly after noontime.
Three of the five suspects in the May 13, 2009 bombing on Tan's convoy are still at large and possibly behind the bombing in Zamboanga on Thursday, Versoza said.
Versoza identified the suspects as Temogen Tulawie, former councilor of Jolo town, the capital of Sulu, Muammar Askali, Sulayman Mohammad Muin, and Johan Albani Alihuddin, and a certain Abs.
The police official said Tulawie, Muin and Abs remains at large while Alihuddin and Askali were arrested in an encounter somewhere in Sulu province last year.
Verzosa said they have requested the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and other intelligence agencies to conduct manhunt operations against the three fugitives.
He disclosed that latest information they gathered that Tulawie could be hiding in Basilan province and Pagadian City, the capital of Zamboanga del Sur.
Verzosa said police are looking at the connection of the Sulu suspects and Reynaldo Apilado, the suspected bomb carrier in Thursday’s Zamboanga bombing.
Apilado have reportedly traveled to Pagadian City a week before he was killed in Zamboanga City. (Bong Garcia)