ZAMBOANGA CITY -- Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Jesus Verzosa ordered on Monday the dissemination of the photographs of the five suspects in Thursday's deadly blast at an airport here.
Verzosa said investigators were tasked to reproduce the photographs of the five men who were tagged as suspects in the bombing at the Zamboanga International Airport in August 5 that killed two people and injured 24 others.
Zamboanga bombing suspects: 1. Reynaldo Apilado, 2. Hatimil Haron Yacob, 3. Allan Sabuddin, 4. a man in stripe shirt, and 5. a man in yellow shirt tagged as the "Yellow man".
Police said the suspects stayed at the hotel for 10 days prior to the attack.
“What is important now is to flash (the images of) these five so that we could identify the two who were not yet been named,” said Verzosa.
The photographs released were those of suspects Reynaldo Apilado, Hatimil Haron Yacob, Allan Sabuddin, a man in stripe shirt, and a man in yellow shirt tagged as the "Yellow man."
Apilado, the carrier of the bag that contained the bomb, and his cohort Yacob were caught in the airport’s surveillance cameras. The two were also captured by the CCTV cameras at the Imperial Hotel hours before the attack.
Apilado died instantly when the bomb he was carrying went off near the arrivals area of the airport, while Yacob died in the hospital.
Verzosa said the man wearing yellow shirt was the third person captured by the surveillance camera at the Imperial Hotel accompanying Apilado and Yacob going out of the hotel.
The PNP chief theorized that the "Yellow man" was the bearer of the bomb, citing similarities to the backpack delivered by the latter to the hotel and to the bag carried by Apilado at the airport.
“When they went down the stairs of the hotel and up to the road, they were not carrying any bag… It is now being reviewed whether someone came back to get the bag or someone else brought it to the airport,” said Verzosa.
“There are many possibilities, one is that since ‘Yellow man’ was the one who brought the bag. Maybe he was the only one who knew it was a bomb and maybe, he went back to the hotel to get it and gave it to Apilado at the airport and misled the two (Apilado and Yacob),” Verzosa added.
Verzosa expressed belief that Apilado and Yacob were not really aware that they were out for a bombing mission.
“It’s possible that they did not know that what they will be doing is bombing,” said Verzosa, citing information revealed by hotel staff that they overheard the group of Apilado saying they will be meeting a mayor and an engineer.
Earlier, Verzosa ordered intensified manhunt against Cocoy Tulawie and one Askali, who were tagged as the possible brains behind the attack aimed at assassinating Sulu Governor Abdusaakur Tan.
Tulawie was also one of the suspects in last year’s bombing of Tan’s convoy.
The Sulu governor was among the 24 people who were injured in Thursday's attack at Zamboanga airport.
Meanwhile, Malacañang hopes that the United Kingdom would lift its travel advisory against the Philippines following the Zamboanga bombing last week.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the PNP had already ruled that the explosion was of political nature than a terrorist or suicide bomber attack.
The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued Friday a travel advisory warning its nationals against travel to some parts of Mindanao, citing the bombing incident in Zamboanga where a British national was among those injured, and that terrorists may attack any time.
"We advise against all travel to specific areas of the Philippines and against all but essential travel to other specific areas of the Philippines," the advisory read. (AMN/Bong Garcia/PNA/Sunnex)