ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – Three former Sulu officials were identified by police on Friday as the alleged masterminds in the August 5 blast at the Zamboanga airport.
Former Sulu 1st District Rep. Munir Arbison, former Maimbung Mayor Najib Maldiza, and former Pangutaran Mayor Ahmad Nanoh were the brains behind the blast, according to Chief Superintendent Edwin Corvera, Zamboanga Peninsula regional police director.
The attack killed 2 people, including the suspected bomber, and injured 22 others.
Corvera said police have submitted additional information to the Department of Justice, adding the names of the 3 former officials on the list of suspects in the attack.
The other names added on the list of suspects are Maulana Omar, Jojo Adam, Musimar Alih, and a certain Munir Hadjirul, police said.
Multiple frustrated murder and multiple attempted murder charges were earlier filed against 3 suspects -- Allan Saibuddin, Addung Salahuddin, and a John Doe.
Corvera said 4 witnesses have submitted sworn affidavits implicating the 3 former Sulu officials and 4 other suspects.
Senior Superintendent Edwin Diocos, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) regional director, said the witnesses took part in planning the airport bombing, which targeted Sulu Governor Abdul Sakur Tan.
The witnesses claimed that Arbison, Maldiza, and Nanoh hatched three separate plans to kill Tan, Diocos said.
The supposed schemes include a car bomb and the May 13, 2009 Patikul attack on the governor’s convoy.
The airport blast was “Plan C,” the CIDG official said.
Zamboanga City prosecutor Ricardo Cabaron is evaluating the affidavits of the witnesses to determine whether to charge the 3 former Sulu officials and the other suspects named in the case. (ABS-CBN Zamboanga - RJ Rosalado)