July 11, 2019
The country’s first suicide bomber was a battered son who ran away from home in 2014, five years before he and another extremist blew themselves up outside a military camp in Jolo, Sulu, killing six people, according to the Philippine National Police (PNP).
“We can now confirm… the incidence of the first suicide bombing in the Philippines, perpetrated by a Filipino in the person of Norman Lasuca,” military spokesman Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said in a news conference.
Col. Bernard Banac, PNP spokesman, said DNA samples from Norman, 23, and his mother Vilman Alam Lasuca matched.
Last week, Vilman claimed the remains of Norman.
Authorities said there was no doubt that Norman and another bomber were behind the twin blasts at the headquarters of the 1st Brigade Combat Team in Indanan, Sulu that also injured 22 people.
Banac said the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) were in the process of confirming the identity of the second bomber, who was earlier identified by Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the military’s Western Mindanao Command.
Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, AFP spokesman, said Norman was physically abused by his father.
“This man was a battered son. He was a victim of physical abuse of his father who was a laborer back then,” Arevalo noted.
The abuse prompted Norman to leave his family in 2014.
“We really need to watch our family and relatives to ensure that they won’t engage in these kind of acts,” Arevalo said.
Banac said the suicide attack was organized by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).
The Sulu attack was the third case of suicide bombing in the Philippines, according to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
The first one was in Lamitan City, Basilan, where a Moroccan was the suspect. The second was in Jolo,
Sulu, where members of the ASG, under the faction of terrorist leader and Islamic State (IS) emir Hajan Sawadjaan, were the suspects.
Security officials warned that IS militants were grooming other local prospects for more such actions in the future.
“Based on our monitoring, they (IS militants) are training others,” Sobejana said.
“The probability is high,” he added when asked about the likelihood of future suicide attacks by local militants.
He said suicide bomber recruits were training in the south of the country, where IS-linked outfits operate.
Arevalo said the Sulu attack prompted the police and the military to make adjustments to their policies.
“The security environment in our country has changed,” Arevalo said, requiring military and police “adjustments in techniques, tactics and procedures.”
“Before, we only heard of IED (improvised explosive device) attacks, remote-controlled attacks, but this time an individual blew himself up as a full-fledged suicide bomber.”
But the military allayed fears of the public, saying the Jolo suicide bombing was an “isolated case.”
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