MANILA (UPDATED) — Skeletal remains were recovered at an excavation site at the Department of Justice compound in Padre Faura, Manila on Thursday.
The excavation is for the construction of a new DOJ library building.
DOJ officials and National Bureau of Investigation personnel were seen inspecting what appeared to be a skull and skeleton recovered in the area around 3 p.m.
"We will have the same examined," Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said of the remains.
But he said this is not the first time that remains were recovered inside the DOJ compound.
“Ang sabi sa akin, history talaga dito, when that was dug up, meron ding nahanap dyan eh,” he said, referring to the Prosecution Building.
“It can be part of the war, we don’t know. Remember during the war, wasak lahat to, everything was destroyed,” he added.
Remulla said he was informed about the remains around lunch time of Thursday.
He immediately called in the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Forensic Division to investigate because of an initial finding.
“We’ll look at the NBI, they might have more ideas. Kasi parang may butas yung skull eh. Apparently, yun ang first examination,” he said.
Authorities retrieved a whole skull and fragments, said DOJ Undersecretary Brigido Dulay.
He refused to provide more details, leaving it to the NBI Forensic Division to conduct further examination.
"Mahirap mag-speculate (it is difficult to speculate)… We will wait for the investigation," he told reporters.
"Kinakausap namin ang NBI (we are talking with the NBI). We want the report from them as quickly as possible," added the official.
For now, Remulla said the construction of the building will continue, as it is already delayed.
But the Justice chief leaves it up to Dulay to decide if archaeologists or personnel from the National Museum should also be involved in examining the remains.