Drug lords may have paid Abu Sayyaf for Davao blast: ‘Bato’

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MANILA – The Philippine National Police (PNP) is not ruling out the involvement of drug lords in the September 2 explosion in Davao City, even though an Abu Sayyaf spokesman already claimed responsibility for the deadly blast.

In a press briefing on Monday, PNP chief Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa said the blast may be related to the administration’s war on drugs.

“Aside from the Abu Sayyaf na we suspect na ginawa nila yan to ease the tension sa ongoing military and police operations against them, nandyan pa rin yung isang angle na pinagtutuunan natin ng pansin: ‘yung narco-terrorism,” he said.

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(Aside from the Abu Sayyaf which we suspect did it to ease the pressure from the ongoing military and police operations against them, there’s still the other angle that we are looking into: narco-terrorism.)

“Andyan pa rin ‘yan. Hindi natin ‘yan dinidiscount totally,” he added.
(It’s still there. We are not totally discounting that.)

Dela Rosa said it’s possible drug lords are colluding with Abu Sayyaf militants.

“Itong mga Abu Sayyaf, they kidnap people for money. They can also bomb people for money. Pera-pera lang yan sila,” he said.
(These Abu Sayyaf, they kidnap people for money. They can also bomb people for money. It’s all about money for them.)

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“So kung ako’y mayaman na drug lord, pwede ko bayaran Abu Sayyaf. Pwede kong bigyan ng pera, sige bumomba kayo; you don’t have to kidnap people. After all mga terorista ‘tong mga ito,” he added.

(So if I were a wealthy drug lord, I can pay the Abu Sayyaf to conduct a bombing without having to kidnap people. After all, they are terrorists.)

An Abu Sayyaf spokesman Abu Rami earlier said the attack is a sign of unity of groups that have pledged their allegiance to Islamic State jihadists in Iraq and Syria as he warned of similar strikes.

This came after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered intensified operations to finish off the 400-strong terror group, following the death of 15 soldiers in a clash in Patikul, Sulu.

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The Western Mindanao Command, however, said they would rather have their own intelligence sources confirm if the blast was indeed done by the terror group.

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