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DNA results confirm PH’s first suicide bomber in Sulu attack
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DNA results confirm PH’s first suicide bomber in Sulu attack

July 11 ------ One of the two suspects in the twin explosions at a military camp in Indanan, Sulu last month was confirmed to be a Filipino, who, the military said, became the first known suicide bomber in the Philippines, as proven by the results of DNA test conducted by authorities. “The [Armed Forces of the Philippines] and [Philippine National Police] would like to allay fears of our countrymen notwithstanding this development where we can confirm, and is now confirming, that the incidence of the first suicide bombing in the Philippines was perpetrated by a Filipino in the person of Norman Lasuca,” said Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo, AFP spokesperson, in a joint military and police press briefing at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City Wednesday.

Police Colonel Bernard Banac, PNP spokesperson, revealed that the Davao Police Regional Office (PRO-11)-Crime Laboratory Office obtained a 99.99-percent probability match from the DNA samples taken from Vilman and Alhussin Lasuca, the suspect’s mother and brother respectively, and the severed head found at the blast site. This only affirmed the earlier remarks made by Lieutenant General Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the AFP-Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom), who first identified Lasuca as one of the suspects in the June 28 attack at the temporary headquarters of the Philippine Army’s 1st Brigade Combat Team (1BCT) in Indanan, Sulu.

The attack left seven casualties, contrary to what was earlier reported by the authorities that there were eight individuals who were killed. Of the casualties, three were soldiers while two were civilians. The military earlier said Lasuca was a member of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) under the command of Hatib Sawadjaan but PNP’s Banac said otherwise. “Wala pang solid evidence na siya ay bahagi nga ng Abu Sayyaf Group. Ang nakikita lang natin, ang Abu Sayyaf ang may pinakamalaking motibo para gawin itong pambobomba dahil dyan sila nag-ooperate,” Banac said in an ambush interview.

With the first case of suicide bombing carried out by a Filipino on Philippine soil confirmed, Arevalo said the incident must serve as an “eye opener” to everyone that the security environment in the country “has changed.” “We still consider this as an isolated case,” he said. “Ang isang pinakamalaking implikasyon nito kung mayroon nang kaso ng suicide bombing sa Pilipinas, ito ang dapat magmulat sa atin sa panibagong kaisipan na iba na ang security environment sa ating bansa. Kailangan mas higit maging aktibong makipagtulungan sa ating security forces,” he added.

The military has since sent the remaining one-third of the Army’s 1BCT to Sulu, as well as the 8th Marine Battalion Landing Team, and another Army Infantry Battalion to intensify the conduct of surgical and focused military operations against the Abu Sayyaf Group.

Arevalo and Banac could not answer how Lasuca was educated into carrying out an attack as bold as suicide bombing. The military earlier said suicide bombing was not usually being used by threat and terror groups in the Philippines because “it is not embedded within our culture.” Sobejana, however, said ASG usually educated its spawns in their stronghold bases in Patikul, Sulu and Liguasan Marsh in Central Mindanao.

“Ito ngayon ang tinitignan natin, kailangan natin ma-find out kung kailan nagsimulang ma-educate ang Pinoy on suicide bombing,” he said. Sobejana said the WestMinCom is now expecting similar suicide attacks. “Since they have started it at alam naman naitn na itong international terror organization, ang requisite for them to get support is to conduct bombing di ba, the probability is high kaya puspusan ang ating paghahanda at pagbabantay to increase vigilance among people,” he said.