2 unidentified bodies in Jolo bombing male, female – PNP

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The remains of two unidentified civilians recovered from the Jolo Cathedral bombing site belonged to a male and a female, the Philippine National Police (PNP) confirmed.

According to the report obtained by Rappler on Wednesday, February 20, "DNA testing results showed that 4 leg bone specimens belong to two unidentified persons, a male and a female." 

The report was prepared by the PNP Crime Laboratory. 

Police hoped that the report would bolster their claim that the Jolo bombing was the work of a couple who detonated one improvised explosive device (IED) inside the church and another at the entrance on January 27.

President Rodrigo Duterte had also suspected as much, announcing in a media interview on January 29 that a husband-and-wife team was behind the bombing.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier said the DNA test might also reveal the nationalities of the two unidentified fatalities. Lorenzana had said that the information he received was that the alleged suicide bombers were Yemeni.

The twin blasts left over 20 people dead and many others injured. The Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the explosions.

How were the tests done? The PNP Crime Laboratory gathered specimens from 7 fatalities in the Jolo Cathedral bombing and tried to match them with the DNA of the 2 pairs of feet. None of them completely matched.

Further analysis pointed to the pairs of feet as one male and one female.

“As summarized…11 complete female DNA profiles matched with the female leg bones…2 complete male DNA profiles from 2 leg bones matched,” the DNA report added.

Four specimens (pieces of bone and flesh) recovered from the bomb site “yielded no DNA profile,” and a hand with two fingers was matched with fatality Leo Helbolario.

In an earlier interview with Rappler, PNP Crime Laboratory Chief Chief Superintendent Rolando Hinanay explained that the police could not yet identify the nationalities of the unidentified man and woman as they do not have enough advanced equipment in their lab.

The PNP would have to get help from its international counterparts to do this. – Rappler.com

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.