Updated 06:33 AM PHT Fri, December 2, 2016
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The suspects behind the foiled bombing near the U.S. Embassy planted an improvised explosive device to make a good impression on international terror group ISIS, Philippine National Police Chief Ronald Dela Rosa said.
Suspects Jiaher Guinar, a businessman, and Rayson Kilala alias Rashid, an imam in a mosque in Bulacan, were presented by Dela Rosa on Thursday as two of the five suspects behind the incident.
They are allegedly members of Ansar al-Khilafah Philippines, a terror group that has pledged allegiance to ISIS. He added the Ansar al-Khilafah Philippines has an existing alliance with the Maute Group.
The PNP Chief said there were two reasons behind the attack of the Ansar al-Khilafah Philippines: to be recognized by ISIS so they will get funding, and to ease the pressure of the government's military offensive against the Maute group in Butig, Lanao Del Sur.
Initial target not U.S. Embassy
Dela Rosa revealed the initial target for the bombing was Luneta Park and not the U.S. Embassy.
"Mga 2:30 a.m. nilagay pero gabi pa lang sa Luneta, nag-attempt na sila doon. Pumalpak lang. Una radio daw 'yung triggering device, pumalpak then pinalitan nila ng sim, cellphone. Pumalpak din so nag-move sila. Pumunta ng Roxas Boulevard, doon na nila nilagay sa basurahan," he said.
[Translation: Around 2:30 a.m. they placed it in Luneta. They attempted, but failed. At first the radio was the triggering device. It failed so they switched to sim and cellphone. It failed so they moved. They went to Roxas Boulevard where they left the IED inside a trash can.]
Dela Rosa said the homemade bomb was transported to Manila from Mindanao via a Toyota Revo.
The police have identified and are still looking for three more suspects, who have allegedly already returned to Lanao to fight alongside the Maute Group.
Dela Rosa said the two suspects in their custody will be charged for illegal possession of explosives and conspiracy to commit terrorism.