Davao wharf bomber nabbed in N. Cotabato

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 13 2015 05:37 PM | Updated as of Nov 21 2015 02:04 PM

NORTH COTABATO - Authorities on Wednesday arrested a suspect in the Sasa Wharf and Ecoland terminal bombing in Davao City in 2003 that killed 23 civilians and injured 127 others

Supect Abdul Manap Mentang alias "Manny" and "Manap" was arrested by combined forces of the Army and police at a checkpoint in Barangay Panatan, Pigcawayan, Cotabato

The bomb expert, who has a P2.3 million bounty on his head, introduced himself as a member of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front-Special Operations Group (MILF-SOG).

Warrants of arrest for Mentang were issued separately by Davao City and Cotabato City Regional Trial Courts for multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder.

Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) ARMM chief Supt. Jimmy Daza said Mentang was presented Thursday evening to Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

"Noong tinanong niya ikaw ba si Abdul Mentang , 'Yes, ako po,' wala na, inissue-han na ng commitment order. Noong nai-present sa kanya kagabi ang sabi niya, 'Matagal na kitang hinahanap.' Iyan ang sabi ng mayor," Daza said.

Previous investigations revealed that Mentang was included in the first batch of a 15-man group trained on basic demolition for urban terrorism by the Jemaah Islamiyah in 1995.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) added that the suspect is known to have trained some MILF members on bomb-making during that time.

MIL 1st Vice Chairman Ghadzali Jaafar, meanwhile, denied that Mentang belongs to their group.

Jaafar also clarified they have no Special Operations Group that has been often linked to bombing incidents.

Mentang was arrested in Santa Ana, Manila in October 2004 but was released from jail after three months due to lack of evidence against him.

He is now under the custody of PNP in Davao City. -- With reports from Arianne Apatan, ABS-CBN News