No rest for the weary

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By now, a number of conjectures have come out about the Jolo bombing, five suspects of which supposedly surrendered because of “massive hot pursuit operations” by the police and the military.

If one were to look at it from the Ang Probinsiyano fan mindset, the scenario is heroic and action-packed and the villains, no longer able to take the heat, turned themselves in. End of story? Not by a long shot.

This complicated plot has many possible twists and turns that could make your head spin. The Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines must be commended, based on these white flags from suspected terrorists, for their doggedness.

Sadly, it may have been their own complacency that led to the suicide bombing on church grounds.

Statements made by the authorities after the five key surrenders which could lead to the quick conclusion of this ugly chapter revealed that local police had been guarding the cathedral 24/7, setting up a sort of checkpoint at the location on Sundays.

People going to Mass, in other words, are checked before they can enter, much like our experience in malls hereabouts. Yet while these mall “wand” or x-ray checks have become part of our urban experience, it is unfathomable that it should be done in churches.

But what do we know? Life in places like Sulu is far different from many other parts of the Philippines.

In these regions that had long been regarded as breeding grounds for rebellion, security measures need to be much tighter, justifying a martial law.

Unfortunately, security may have lapsed somehow for two Indonesians to enter, carrying backpacks filled with explosives.

This, of course, has yet to be verified, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año says. What we are told at this point is that the Abu Sayyaf is behind the blasts along with a “foreign terrorist related to ISIS.”

The suicide bombing couple, he adds, were guided by one of the surrenderers, a certain “alias Kamah,” who is said to be the brother of a slain Abu Sayyaf leader. Two pairs of unclaimed feet will tell the story once forensics is done.

Meanwhile, it should interest us to know that the Interior chief thinks the Jolo Cathedral bombing has nothing to do with the Zamboanga City mosque bombing, but is perhaps connected more with the Lamitan, Basilan blast last year where a foreign IS member was also involved.

He also thinks it is connected more with the Marawi siege — an ISIS instigation — rather than the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) plebiscite.

The “timing” mentioned before, then, had to do with the end of the polls, during which the perpetrators probably saw their chance because the soldiers had possibly let their guard down after the extreme alert for the BOL voting.

What this tells us is that our hardworking men in uniform cannot afford to relax yet even as the public is assured of the fast and efficient work they are doing to catch the criminals.
Now that they know that the Jolo bombing was meant to be “training” for future Filipino suicide bombers, there can be no let-up in their efforts.

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