ZAMBOANGA CITY -- Investigators sifting through surveillance videos taken from two areas here have found clues on the identities of the suspects behind Thursday’s airport bombing that killed two people and injured 24 others.
Police said the suspects in the bombing at the Zamboanga International Airport last week were caught in surveillance cameras in the airport and the nearby Imperial Hotel where they have allegedly stayed since July 27.
Zamboanga Peninsula Police Office Director Edwin Corvera said the surveillance videos have helped investigators reconstruct the chronology of events leading to Thursday night's blast.
Corvera said the two fatalities, who were tagged as suspects, may have also fallen victims to someone who have hatched the plot.
The police official was referring to Reynaldo Apilado, the one who was carrying the bomb, and Hatimil Haron Yacob. Apilado died on the spot after the bomb ripped through his body, while Yacob died in a hospital an hour later.
Police also identified a certain Allan Sabudin as one of the suspects. Two more suspects who were seen in the videos have remained unidentified, according to Corvera.
Two people were killed and 24 others were injured, including Sulu Governor Abdusaakur Tan and 69-year-old British national, when the bomb exploded shortly after 6 p.m. at the airport's arrivals area.
The police official said the suspects stayed at the Imperial Hotel on July 27 and checked out at 3:06 p.m. of August 5, a few hours before a bomb went off at the airport terminal.
According to police accounts, Sabudin and an unidentified companion checked-in at Room 220 of the Imperial Hotel, which was occupied on the next day by Apilado, Yacob and another unidentified companion, and continued to pay the rent until July 31.
On August 1, Apilado, Yacob and their unidentified companion transferred to Room 203 of the hotel, which is a bigger room.
On August 2, Apilado visited his auntie, Cornelia Apilado-Hajiril, in Barangay Canelar in this city purposely to borrow money and with a promise to pay upon his return from Pagadian City where he was going to work, Corvera said.
In the morning of August 3, Apilado met his uncle, Rosendo Gonzaga, a public utility jeepney driver, at the terminal located across the Imperial Hotel.
Apilado told his uncle that he and two other companions are staying at the hotel for the next 10 days and that they are waiting for an engineer to arrive.
"He (Apilado) told his uncle that he is going to Pagadian City and he will work there and just waiting for their engineer," Corvera said.
Corvera added that Apilado has told his uncle that he was receiving a P300 daily budget for doing some errands.
In the afternoon of August 3, Apilado was seen drinking with three companions at his residence in Sitio Caragasan, Barangay Maasin, 13 kilometers west of the city.
Later on the same day, Apilado and his companions were seen leaving Sitio Caragasan aboard a public utility jeepney with route marking Sta. Catalina.
Further investigation revealed that Yacob was also a neighbor of Apilado.
In the evening of August 4, Corvera said Apilado visited his girlfriend at a videoke bar on R.T. Lim Boulevard and promised to live with her upon his return from Pagadian City.
Corvera said Apilado, Yacob and one of the two unidentified suspects checked out from Imperial Hotel around 3:06 p.m. of August 5.
The identities of the two unidentified companions are yet to be known.
Based on the surveillance videos of the hotel, the three left the premises of Imperial Hotel around 3:15 p.m. of August 5.
Corvera said that at 6:05 p.m. of August 5, Apilado was captured by the CCTV cameras of the airport standing in front of the arrival gate.
Apilado was at that time seen with a backpack strapped on his back and appeared very relax while apparently waiting for someone to come out of the arrival area.
Chief Superintendent Angelo Sunglao, Directorate for Integrated Police Operations-west director, said they are still investigating who gave Apilado the backpack containing the explosive.
Apilado and his two companions were not carrying anything when they left the Imperial Hotel, as seen on the surveillance footage. (Bong Garcia/Sunnex)