INVESTIGATORS are conducting thorough investigation to establish the “missing link” to be able to unmask the mastermind of the August 5 bombing at the Zamboanga International Airport (ZIA).

This, as the task force has filed criminal charges last Tuesday before the City Prosecutor's Office against three people who were tagged as the “executioners” of the bomb attack.

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Senior Superintendent Edwin Diocos, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group chief in Zamboanga Peninsula, said the missing link is who gave the bag containing the explosive to Reynaldo Apilado, who was tagged as the bomb-carrier.

Diocos said they don't have closed-circuit television camera (CCTV) footage that could show who handed over the bag containing explosive to Apilado.

The investigators are in possession of CCTV video that showed Apilado along with Hatimil Haron Yacob and Adong Salahuddin leaving from a downtown hotel more than three hours before the bombing but they were not carrying anything.

Apilado was already carrying a backpack, which was strapped on his back, when he and Yacob were captured by a CCTV camera outside the arrival area of the airport terminal building.

“Actually hindi nakita yan sa video and we do not have witness in that portion,” Diocos answered when asked who gave the backpack to Apilado.

“Kaya nga may missing link kami and that missing link is the subject of our investigation wherein upon discovery of that missing link doon na natin makikita yong mastermind and other accessories of the incident,” Diocos added.

Two people were killed, which happened to be Apilado and Yacob, while 24 others including Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan and a British national were injured when a bomb exploded outside the airport arrival area around 6:16 p.m. of August 5.

Zamboanga Peninsula Police Director Edwin Corvera said “as of the moment we lack information” as to the background of Salahuddin, who was no longer seen since they left the hotel.

Corvera said though they already have “leads” as to who could be the mastermind in the August 5 bomb attack “but we cannot say yet with certainty kung sino ang mastermind.”

Charges of multiple frustrated murder, multiple attempted murder and for illegal manufacture and illegal possession of explosive, which is a violation of Republic Act (R.A.) 9516, were filed Tuesday afternoon against the three “executioners” of the attack before the City Prosecutor's Office.

Aside from Salahuddin, also charged were Allan Sabuddin and one named only as John Doe since the investigators have yet to ascertain the third suspect's identity. (Bong Garcia)