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Body of Filipino driver in Saudi blast yet to be identified

Saudi Arabian authorities have yet to conduct DNA testing on two more charred bodies retrieved from the explosion that killed 22 people in Riyadh two weeks ago to get their identities, a Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman said on Tuesday.

Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez said authorities in Saudi Arabia have yet to identify which between the two bodies belongs to Filipino truck driver Florentino Santiago.

"Ang mangyayari po dalawang bangkay pa ang kailangang i-DNA test para malaman kung sino po iyon at tinitignan natin baka doon sa dalawa, isa yung si Florentino. For now, ang importante dito makagawa sila ng DNA test at makakuha ng sample para imatch ang DNA ni Florentino doon sa kanyang blood relatives," Hernandez said in a radio interview.

Hernandez said Santiago's brother-in-law initially mistook another badly-burnt corpse, belonging to a Syrian, for Florentino.

"Kasi iyong pumunta sa morge iyong kanyang bayaw, sinabi po noong bayaw na iyan nga ang bangkay ni Florentino. Pero yung ginawa iyong scientific proseso para malaman ang identification ng labi na yan, nalaman po na hindi pala iyan ang bangkay ni Florentino pero sa isang Syrian national," Hernandez added.

He noted that DNA samples could be supplied by Santiago's blood relatives now in Riyadh or Saudi embassy could also get such samples in Manila.

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"Well, iyong sample na kukunin sa blood relative doon ni Florentino na nasa Middle East na ...maaring kunin na itong sample ng Saudi embassy dito sa Manila," the DFA spokesman said.

Hernandez said he sees little possibility that Santiago could still be alive after the fuel tanker blast.

"Mahirap po iyon sabihin kasi walang ibang information na nakakarating doon sa embahada na ganoon nga...pati iyong kanyang bayaw parang sinasabi na talagang sama doon siya doon sa nangyaring pagsabog ng fuel tanker," he said.

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