Chief Supt. Edwin Corvera, director of the Police Region Office 9 (PRO 9), shows to journalists the photo of Reynaldo Apilado, whom the authorities suspected as the bomb carrier who blew himself Thursday night at the Zamboanga City International Airport. Also in photo are PNP chief Jesus Verzosa (left) and Mayor Celso Lobregat.
Police and military authorities announced the identity of a suspected suicide bomber who blew himself up targeting a governor of Sulu on the Zamboanga City international airport on Thursday night.
Security sources said that authorities are still conducting thorough investigation of the alleged suicide bombing which if confirmed could be the first of such attack carried out by a Filipino.
A police investigator described the video footage from a surveillance camera at the airport saying that they have seen the suspect (Reynaldo Apilado) who was standing infront of the arrival area and stayed there for almost four minutes."
"Then the passengers started to come out from the airplane. Perhaps, 3 to 4 passengers until such time the escort (vehicle) of Governor Sakur Tan passed when the explosion occured...the suspect has a bagpack at his back," he said.
The suspected bomber was identified as Reynaldo Apilado of Barangay Maasin, Zamboanga City. He was in his 30s and had been living at a local housing project for the past 3-4 years.
Authorities are investigating reports that Reynaldo Apilado came from Siocon town in Zamboanga del Norte and had stayed in Cotabato City sometime ago.
Zamboanga City Mayor Celso Lobregat said that a surveillance footage at the airport showed that the alleged bomber made no move to detonate the bomb that he was carrying in his backpack.
"So I would be very very hesitant to use the word suicide bomber because first of all there is no evidence that Reynaldo Apilado was the one who triggered the bomb. There was no triggering mechanism that was found within the vicinity."
Lobregat added that it is very possible that there was a remote triggering device that was triggered by somebody else. Aside from that, he said there is another angle that Reynaldo Apilado did not know that what he was carrying.
"Perhaps, somebody just asked him to carry the bag and to meet somebody in the airport. So all these angles are being looked into and we really should refrain from using the word suicide bomber because it is not verified," he said.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Jesus Versoza, in a press conference in Zamboanga City, told reporters that the motive of the bombing incident appears to be a "politically motivated terrorist act."
"That is a possible attack on Governor Tan by a person through the used of bomb," Versoza said.
He said they are now looking also on previous incidents that might have some relations with the attack on Governor Tan before because there was an attempt on his life before also through the used of bomb.
"Our investigators are assessing and interfacing the other terror attacks which are polically motivated. In the initial finding, the bomb carrier itself that was a victim in the bomb blast," the PNP chief said.