Rizal Day bombing suspects sentenced today
- Bebot Sison Jr., Cecille Suerte Felipe () - January 23, 2009 - 12:00am

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has tightened security at the Manila City Hall where a local judge is set to hand down today the verdict on the three alleged terrorists implicated in bombing at the Light Railway Transit (LRT) station in Blumentritt, Manila on Rizal Day eight years ago.

Judge Cielito Mendaro-Grulla of the Manila Regional Trial Court set the promulgation of judgment on Mukhlis Hadji Yunos, alias Saifulla Yunos Muklis; Abdul Fatak Paute and Mamasao Naga, who are facing charges of multiple murder, multiple frustrated murder for the LRT bombing in 2000.

“Nobody knows what would be the judgment of Judge Grulla, no one has seen the documents on the case resolution,” said a staff of the judge, who refused to be identified.

An official of the PNP Intelligence Group told The STAR that police have set up a tight security plan in Manila because the case and the accused are considered “high profile.”

The Manila Police District (MPD) is expected to complement the security arrangement provided at the Manila City Hall, which houses the Manila courts.

The accused, through their lawyers, maintained that they are innocent.

Court records showed that over 10 people were killed and more than 100 were injured when an improvised explosive device exploded inside one of the coaches of the LRT near the Blumentritt station on Dec. 30, 2000.

Reports said Yunos carried out the Dec. 30, 2000, bombings in Manila, known as the “Rizal Day Bombings,” on behalf of Indonesia-based Jemaah Islamiyah (JI).

The blast at the LRT was one of the five incidents of bombing that took place almost simultaneously in Metro Manila on Dec. 30, 2000, a national holiday commemorating the execution of National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal.

The bombings occurred within a span of a few hours, killing a number of people and injuring about a hundred others.

The first bomb exploded at Plaza Ferguson, an open square less than a hundred meters from the United States Embassy in Manila, the second bombing was inside a coach of the LRT in Blumentritt.

The third bomb exploded at a gasoline station in Makati City, killing a policeman, while the fourth bomb exploded near the airport in Pasay City and the fifth incident was in a bus station in Cubao, Quezon City.

Based on the globalsecurity.org website, Yunos was an explosives expert and the leader of the Special Operations Group of the Philippines-based Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Intelligence information said Yunos received financial assistance from JI leaders Faiz bin Abu Bakar Bafana and Al-Ghozi to conduct the Rizal Day bombings.

Yunos also assisted JI operations chief Hambali, and JI Singapore cell leader Faiz bin Abu Bakar Bafana in conducting surveillance of the US and Israeli embassies in the Philippines.

ABU BAKAR BAFANA ABU BAKAR BAFANA AND AL-GHOZI BLUMENTRITT DR. JOSE RIZAL FAIZ FATAK PAUTE AND MAMASAO NAGA INTELLIGENCE GROUP MANILA MANILA CITY HALL RIZAL DAY YUNOS
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