MANILA - Police are eyeing extortion as the possible motive behind the bus bombing in Polomolok, South Cotabato on Thursday.
The incident occurred at past 2 p.m. when an improvised explosive device detonated inside a Yellow Bus Line (YBL) unit, wounding at least 18 people.
According to Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) team leader S/Insp. Armando Galigo, the YBL admitted that their office secretary received a call at around 11 a.m., saying that an explosive has been left inside a bus unit.
The male caller introduced himself as a member of the Al Khobar, a local terrorist gang allegedly responsible for several bombings in Central Mindanao.
The caller said the bus had already left Polomolok and was on its way to General Santos City.
Galigo added that the caller also requested to speak with the company's management regarding an amount of money it has yet to settle.
"Ang gusto lang nila kasing malaman e wala pa kasi 'yung money involved. 'Yung purpose is extortion kaya gusto nilang makausap 'yung managment ng YBL," the SOCO official said.
The SOCO recovered fragments of PRB 423 grenade from the crime scene. The explosive was concealed inside a plastic bag.
Broken pieces of a cellphone, battery, SIM card, lead wire and capacitor were also found at the blast site.
Authorities continue to gather statements from passengers to identify the suspect who planted the bomb.
-- Report from Francis Canlas, ABS-CBN News