MANILA - Malacañang on Tuesday said terror attacks were inevitable even in the most prepared country, as the nation reeled from twin blasts that hit a Catholic Church in Jolo, Sulu on Sunday, killing 21 and wounding about 100 others.
The Sunday bombing raised questions about the government’s preparedness to prevent terror attacks, especially as it happened while Mindanao remained under martial law.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said terror attacks were inevitable sometimes, citing how even the United States, the world’s most powerful country, could not escape it.
“[The] most determined killer, criminal terrorist cannot be stopped. It happened in the United States, the most powerful country in the world with all those security, napatay nila iyong Presidente (they were able to kill their president),” Panelo said in a Palace press briefing, a reference to assassinations of US presidents.
Panelo said despite “security lapses” which may have allowed last Sunday’s terror attack to take place, martial rule in Mindanao should be seen as a preemptive measure against terror attacks.
“Kapag determined ang killer saka bomber, kahit anong bantay mo malulusutan ka. Pero hindi naman pupuwede iyong, kumbaga, kung ang plano nila sampu eh hindi pupuwedeng makalusot sampu. Sa madaling sabi, lahat ng preventive steps gagawin ng AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) para hindi maulit iyong nangyari doon.”
(A determined killer and bomber would be able to breach security no matter how guarded you are. But that doesn't mean that if they are planning to carry out 10 attacks, they would be able to pull off all 10. In other words, the AFP will undertake all preventive steps so that it won't happen again.)
The military on Tuesday released surveillance footage showing a man, supposedly Alias Kamah, brother of slain bandit leader Surakah Ingog, triggering the explosive device.
Kamah, a known bomb maker, ran away from the church and out of the video's frame with several cohorts, moments after the explosion, said Col. Gerry Besana, spokesperson of the military's Western Mindanao Command.
The group was also behind several kidnapping and extortion cases in Sulu, he said.
The Islamic State on Monday claimed credit for the attack, saying two suicide bombers detonated a belt of explosives, according to US-based SITE Intelligence Group which monitors jihadist activities.
The military was not discounting this claim but said the Ajang-Ajang, a subgroup of the bandit Abu Sayyaf Group, may be behind the blast.