By Chito Chavez
Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año said Monday there was a ‘security lapse’’ when authorities failed to install closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras inside and outside the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral in Jolo, Sulu, site of the twin bomb attacks that killed 23 people and wounded over a hundred last week.
Aside from the missing CCTV, Ano said there were also no security personnel manning the cathedral’s gate and absence of checkpoints around the area near where the blast occurred.
“Ang mga CCTV footage na nakuha natin ‘yung dalawang CCTV na naka-install sa paligid ng cathedral na pag-aari ng private businessmen. Medyo malayo [sa cathedral]. Hindi naman nahagip ung mga sinasabi nating suicide bomber kasi ang focus nong mga CCTV na ‘yun eh to protect the interest of the business company, hindi talaga siya directly nakatutok don sa pinto kung saan pumapasok ang churchgoers (The CCTV footage we got from private firms nearby were far and were unable to capture the supposed suicide bomber since the focus of the CCTV is to protect the interest of the said private companies),’’ Año said.
Despite the security lapses, Año stood firm on his pronouncement that the suspects were connected with the global terrorist group ISIS which is also notorious for beheading hostages.
“Isang global network (ang ISIS) na nagpapadala ng foreign terrorists. Marami na tayong nahuli dyan with the help of Malaysia and Indonesia, pero sa laki ng border natin, mahihirapan tayong bantayan ‘yan (One global network (ISIS) sent foreign terrorists. We already captured a number of them with the help of the Malaysia and Indonesia but with our huge border it will be difficult to guard against them),’’ he added.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said on Monday that the Jolo bombing was planned for a year before it was executed.
Meanwhile, the suspected brother of a slain Abu Sayyaf leader who allegedly ignited the twin bombs at the Jolo Cathedral has surrendered to the police.
Albayalde also noted Kammah Pae, alias Kamah, brother of Surakah Ingog who died in 2018, is now in police custody after surrendering to the military over the weekend.