Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has expressed her support to calls by some quarters for an independent probe into the recent spate of bombings in Mindanao as she questioned the administration’s use of intelligence funds to avert terrorist attacks.
De Lima said there are lingering questions that have remained unanswered about the bombings in a Catholic church in Jolo, Sulu as well as in a mosque in Zamboanga City, leaving scores of people dead and injuring several others.
“Kaya sinusuportahan ko po ang panawagan sa isang hiwalay at malayang imbestigasyon sa nangyaring pambobomba sa Jolo at Zamboanga. Kailangang lumabas ang katotohanan. Maraming namatay at naulila at ang insidente ay nagdulot ng lubhang pangamba sa publiko,” she said.
Last Jan. 29, at least 20 people, including civilians and troops, died while 111 others were injured after an improvised explosive device (EID) exploded inside and outside the premises of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral in Jolo, Sulu.
The following day, another two people were killed while four others were injured when a grenade exploded on a mosque in Zamboanga City.
The two bomb explosions took place after the Bangsamoro people voted to ratify the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) or Republic Act No. 11054, and a few days short of the plebiscite on the ratification of the BOL last Jan. 29.
In her recent Dispatch from Crame No. 461, De Lima also expressed doubts over Duterte’s ability to protect the Filipino people from terrorist attacks despite his “gangster-like” antics which he brazenly bragged about during his several public speeches.
“If, indeed, it was the terrorists who did the bombings, it also proves one thing: That the gangster-like antics of Duterte cannot protect the people against terrorists and neither can he scare them away to curb their agenda,” she said.
“The first was Marawi, now Jolo and Zamboanga. His threats are nothing but empty words to real terrorists. To put it bluntly, he is mighty in words, but inept in action. What are our intelligence assets doing, or where are the funds to run the intelligence gathering?,” she added.
According to the former justice secretary, the Filipino people, especially the families of those who were killed and injured deserve to know the whole unfettered truth about this recent spate of bombings that rocked Mindanao region.
“An act of violence is one too many. I urge the discerning public to also monitor the situation in Mindanao. We must always demand for the truth against the backdrop of lies and fake news by this deceptive regime. We cannot all too often be taken for a ride,” she said. As early as June last year, De Lima has called on security authorities to step up efforts in preventing insurgent groups from launching a series of bomb attacks using EIDs following reports of the presence of ISIS-trained makers in the region.