By Korinah Saromines
The two suspects in the deadly South Seas Mall bombing in Cotabato City were formally charged on Thursday by the local police force.
Salipudin Lauban Pasandalan and Saed Nur Kasim were charged with two counts of murder and 34 counts of frustrated murder before the Office of the Prosecutor in Cotabato City, police said.
Pasandalan has surrendered to authorities for fear of his life, after he was tagged in the 31 December blast that left two people dead and 34 others wounded while Kasim is still at large, the Soccsksargen police said Thursday.
Chief Supt. Eliseo Rasco, Soccsksargen regional police chief, said at least eight suspects are being eyed in the bombing.
Rasco said countermeasures have been implemented to prevent another bombing.
“We conducted meeting with other law enforcement agencies, local executives, and stakeholders to prevent or once and for all stop this incident from happening again in the future,” said Rasco.
Meanwhile, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) may place Cotabato City under its control following the bombing incident.
Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas said Wednesday election officers are assessing the security and peace and order situation in Cotabato City.
If placed under the poll body’s control, a task force will lead the implementation of security measures in the city, Abas said.
The Comelec had earlier set 13 January as the start of the election period.