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PNP ‘elated’ over conviction of bombers

Posted by Abi Kwok on January 24, 2009

But warning raised vs retaliatory attacks

By Abigail Kwok
First Posted 15:44:00 01/23/2009

Filed Under: Acts of terror, Crime and Law and Justice, Crime, Punishment

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) is “elated” over the conviction of three suspected members of the terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah in the bombing a Light Rail Transit station in Manila eight years ago but is also bracing itself for possible retaliatory attacks by sympathetic groups.

“The PNP, as an organization, is very elated for the positive expectation that we had in the promulgation of the sentence of those involved with the bombing of five places here during Rizal Day in the year 2000. This is a positive note towards our justice system of which we have convicted known terrorists and they have wreaked havoc in Metro Manila during that time,” said PNP Director General Jesus Verzosa in an interview.

Judge Cielito Mendaro-Grulla of Branch 29 of the Manila regional trial court sentenced Mukhlis Hadji Yunos, alias Saifulla Yunos Muklis; Abdul Fatak Paute and Mamasao Naga to suffer imprisonment of more than 20 years after they were charged with multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder.

Twenty-two people and hundreds were wounded when explosions rocked five different locations in Metro Manila on Dec. 30, 2000.

The explosions occurred at Plaza Ferguson in Ermita, Manila; inside an EDSAN Bus Liner in Cubao, Quezon City; at the parking lot of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Complex in Pasay City; near the Petron Gas Station in Makati City; and inside the LRT train in Blumentritt station where 11 of the 22 people killed came from.

“Personally, this is a victory for me because I have worked hard for this operation,” Verzosa added.

Verzosa, then the head of the PNP-Intelligence Group, was responsible for the arrest of Yunos in May 2003 at a Cagayan de Oro City airport, where he was about to board a plane bound for Manila.

But Verzosa said that they were preparing for possible retaliatory attacks from sympathetic groups and had deployed additional security across Metro Manila.

“We have initiated security coverage dun sa [at the] court itself and also those involved in the prosecution of the case and also we have alerted some units for possible things that might happen,” he said.

But the PNP will not be raising the alert status in Metro Manila, Verzosa said.


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