Police looking at extortion in Isulan blast
Authorities are looking at extortion in the Isulan, Sultan Kudarat blast which wounded 18 persons after they found out the owner of the establishment received a message from a certain group asking for money, the Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson said Thursday.
“The initial angle that our Special Investigation Task Group is looking at it extortion. They received an information that there is a demand but they are finding out where it came from,” Police Colonel Bernard Banac said in a press briefing.
According to Police Brigadier General Eliseo Rasco, regional police owner, owner of the restaurant received extortion text messages one week before the incident and after the incident.
“They (owners) received messages two times last week and after the explosion, they asking if they received the package they (suspects) sent,” Rasco said in a phone interview with reporters.
Rasco said the alleged group behind the incident can be the Daulah Islamiyah.
“Our investigators are looking at- based on our (analysis) is the Daulah Islamiyah group. This is based on the Maguindanao area,” he said.
He said their basis is the bomb signature, the information they gathered and based on the statement of the owner of the restaurant.
He said the suspect left the improvised explosive device in between an aircon compressor and a concrete wall after a waiter of the restaurant returned it to him.
“Initially, he left it under the table inside the restaurant but the waiter saw it. After leaving the package, the suspect went to the grilling area outside... but the waiter followed him and return the explosive,” Rasco explained.
Rasco said based on the CCTV footage they gathered inside and outside the restaurant, the suspect committed the crime alone.
“But of course we are not setting aside the possibility that there are other members,” he said.
He said they are still finishing the composite sketch of the suspect since he is wearing a mask and cap.
“Initially, what we saw in the CCTV is the suspect wearing a cap, surgical mask and jacket so we really need to clearly interview the witnesses,” said Rasco.
Of the 18 injured, he said 11 are confined in the hospital.
Asked if the waiter who found the improvised explosive device and return it to the suspect is one of the wounded, Rasco said he has yet to find out.
They are checking if other establishments also received extortion text messages from the group.
The PNP urged business owners to inform local police stations if they received any extortion messages after an improvised bomb exploded in front of a grilling restaurant in Isulan Wednesday afternoon. Ella Dionisio/DMS