'Pinoy' killed in Riyadh blast was Syrian
MANILA, Philippines - A Filipino driver initially identified as one of the 22 people who died in a truck explosion in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia turned out to be a Syrian national, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) revealed on Monday, November 12.
"We just received a report last night by Ambassador [Ezzedin] Tago that the remains of the body that was identified by his brother-in-law turned out to be not him but that of a Syrian national," DFA Spokesman Raul Hernandez said during a press briefing.
Hernandez explained that two bodies have yet to be identified and DNA tests will be conducted on both to confirm if one of them belongs to Filipino driver Florentino Santiago.
Previously the lone Filipino fatality, Santiago is now back to official "missing" status.
"It's very important to be accurate about this and do the usual process rather than make mistakes," he added.
Hernandez noted that the DNA of one of the bodies will have to match the DNA of a direct relative of Santiago.
"We will only know then for sure that he is dead when we are able to see and identify scientifically that one of these bodies is his," the spokesman said.
Of the 11 Pinoys injured in the blast, only two remain in the hospital, both in critical condition.
Another Filipino, driver Ruben Kebeng, is currently being investigated by Saudi police in relation to the accident but no charges have been filed yet.
The Philippine embassy in Riyadh is helping the Filipino victims get the financial assistance they need, although some of them are entitled to medical benefits from their Saudi employers.
The accident took place on November 1 on a main road in the Saudi after a truck veered into a bridge pylon, causing a gas leak that spread out and then burst into flames, destroying nearby cars and a building. - Rappler.com