NBI releases sketch of Bar bomber

- Edu Punay -

MANILA, Philippines – The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) released yesterday an artist’s sketch of the primary suspect in the grenade explosion that marred the conclusion of this year’s Bar exams in Manila last Sept. 26 and injured 47 persons.

The NBI said based on the description provided by two eyewitnesses, the grenade thrower is about 20 to 25 years old, 5’6" to 5’7" tall, medium build and light brown complexion.

The witnesses also said the man was clad in maong pants, dark polo t-shirt and a pair of low-cut sneakers when he threw the explosive device to the crowd holding “salubong” or the traditional practice where examinees are greeted as they leave the exams venue after completing the exams.

“They (witnesses) are very sure that this is the identity of the bomber,” NBI deputy director for investigative services Ricson Chong said in a press conference. “This person in the sketch, according to the witnesses, threw the grenade that rolled and then exploded.”

Chong said they were not sure if the grenade thrower had companions “because of the huge crowd at that time.”

He said the sketch was released by the bureau to seek public help in hunting down the suspect, citing the reward offer of P1 million for information that could lead to his arrest.

The NBI official stressed that the sketch is already “concrete evidence” that could lead to major breakthroughs in their probe.

“Hopefully with this sketch, we can get people who can identify him and lead us eventually to him,” Chong added. He said the sketches would be posted in schools and universities for this purpose.

He also said their investigators are now checking if the man in the sketch is a member of a fraternity: “We are still trying to determine if he is a member of the frat, but we are headed on that way.”

Chong said they are zeroing in on fraternity war angle “because the witnesses are very sure about that.”

He said the two witnesses who helped in creating the sketch would have to wait for the arrest of the suspect before they could claim part of the cash reward.

A special panel created by the Supreme Court to investigate the incident has deferred the release of its report, which was submitted to Chief Justice Corona last Friday, due to significant developments in the NBI’s investigation.

The STAR, however, obtained a copy of the 48-page report of the committee, chaired by Associate Justice Martin Villarama Jr., that gave recommendations on changes to security protocols during the Bar exams.

Among its proposals is to move the “salubong,” or the traditional practice where examinees are greeted as they leave the exams venue after completing the exams, away from the venue.

The probe panel also urged the SC to put up “a 200-meter perimeter fence within the vicinity of the exams (held for four Sundays in September) from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.”

The panel also said the operations of various organizations during the Bar exams should be made part of the law schools’ official activities and that law school deans be held liable for possible untoward incidents.









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