MANILA – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Tuesday released a sketch of the suspect who supposedly left a bomb near the US Embassy in Manila on Monday.
"Ito ang mukha niya. Baka may kapitbahay kayo na kamukha nito, i-report niyo agad sa pulis. Mukha pa lang ang mayroon, pangalan wala (This is his face. If you have a neighbor who looks like this, report it to the police. We do not yet have his name, only his face)," PNP Chief, Director General Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa said in a press conference at Camp Karingal in Quezon City.
The suspect is around 5"5' in height, aged more or less 44 to 45 years, with a weight of 60 to 65 kilograms, and a fair complexion, Dela Rosa said.
The suspect was riding a white taxi, and was wearing a shirt, black pants, and leather shoes when he left an explosive near the US Embassy, Dela Rosa said. The explosive resembled an improvised explosive device (IED) that detonated in a Davao City night market in September, killing 14, police said.
While unsure of details about the suspect's involvement, police believe his identity will help in determining the masterminds of the foiled attack.
The explosive's resemblance to the one used in Davao City led police to suspect that the Maute Group, who claimed responsibility for the September attack, was also behind the attempted attack in Roxas Boulevard.
However, Dela Rosa said it is possible that the suspect in the foiled attack in Manila did not know what he was delivering.
"Pwede ring mangyari na itong Maute [Group], suffering heavy casualties…[tinawagan] itong sympathizers…o pwede ring matagal na itong nakatago dito. Hangga’t mayroong relatives dito, may sympathizers," Dela Rosa said.
(It is possible that the Maute Group, suffering heavy casualties, called their sympathizers, or they may have been in hiding here for a long time. While there are relatives of members of the Maute Group here, there will be sympathizers.)
Dela Rosa said that the foiled attack may have been a tactic to divert government attention.
"Baka gusto lang nilang ma-divert ang atensyon (They may want to divert attention)…this is a basic guerrilla tactic," he said.
-- With reports from Raffy Santos, ABS-CBN News