De Lima denounces Jolo bombings, demands for accountability

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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has denounced the bombings of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral in Jolo, Sulu that left at least 20 people dead and injured 100 others despite efforts towards achieving lasting peace in war-stricken Mindanao.

De Lima, a known human rights defender here and abroad, called on the authorities to seriously investigate and track down the perpetrators of the crime to ensure accountability and accord the victims and their families the justice they deserve.

“The bombing of a Roman Catholic Cathedral in Jolo, Sulu that wasted at least 20 innocent lives is appalling as it is extremely atrocious. I extend my deepest sympathies to the families who have lost their loved ones to this unfortunate incident,” she said.

“This senseless attack calls for serious government attention and action to ensure that the perpetrators behind the bombing are put to justice and the victims will not be simply relegated as collateral damage of the persisting acts of terrorism in the area,” she added.

At least 20 people, including civilians and troops, were reportedly killed after a double bomb attack occurred inside the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Jolo, Sulu where people celebrated the Sunday Mass last Jan. 27.

The bombing incident took place days after the Bangsamoro people voted to ratify the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) or Republic Act 11054, and a few days short of the plebiscite on the ratification of the BOL this coming Jan. 29.

The lady Senator from Bicol said she hopes that the double attack in Sulu would not derail the Bangsamoro peace process which could finally allow for genuine autonomy and meaningful self-governance of the Bangsamoro people.

“The timing of the bombing is really questionable that is why it poses a big challenge for the authorities to find out, through a thorough investigation, the real reason and mastermind behind the Jolo bombings,” she said.

“We should not allow any faceless cowards with selfish interests to threaten the safety and security of innocent people, especially not now that the government tries to convince us that the continuing implementation of martial law in Mindanao can help ensure the safety of the people,” she added. Last June, De Lima called on security authorities to step up efforts in preventing insurgent groups from launching a series of bomb attacks using improvised explosive devices following reports of the presence of ISIS-trained makers in the region.

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