THE Philippine National Police on Wednesday filed multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder charges against nine terror suspects led by Abubakar Zulkifli over the September 2 bombing in Davao City that killed 15 people and wounded 17 others even as top security officials maintained that the country badly needs the help of the United States in combatting terrorism in the country.
The filing of the charges against Zulkifli and eight other John Does was made by members of the Special Investigation Task Group ‘Night Market’ led by Davao City police chief Senior Superintendent Michael John Dubria before the Davao City Prosecutor’s Office following several case conferences with government lawyers and prosecutors.
At present, the U.S. government quietly maintains a silent war on terror in the country providing the PNP and the Armed Forces with training, logistical equipment and, significantly, the needed intelligence to capture foreign terrorists now based in Mindanao and training their local counterparts in manufacturing powerful improvised explosive devices.
This is the current situation amid President Duterte’s declaration to pursue an independent foreign policy and his subsequent call for all US special forces to leave Mindanao.
Zulkifli has been described as an expert bomb-maker with links to the ISIS and Jemaah Islamiyah as well as the Abu Sayyaf-allied group called Daulat Ul Islamiya. However, police are yet to say what the real motive is behind the deadly bomb attack.
Police are also determining if the suspects could be among those trained by Zulkilfi bin Hir alias Marwan, the wanted Jemaah Islamiyah bomber killed in the infamous Mamasapano, Maguindanao operation on January 25, 2015 that left 44 PNP Special Action Force commandos dead. Police are set to release the Philippine bounty offered to the informant who gave the exact information that led to the killing of Marwan, the subject of a US$5 million reward.
The death toll in the Davao City bombing rose to 15 when six months pregnant Vicenta Asperin passed away from a heart attack and brain damage in a local hospital late Monday evening or 11 days after she lapsed into a coma.