M’LANG, North Cotabato – Authorities confirmed that they are pursuing several “persons of interest” that could shed light on the June 3, 2021 bus torching here that killed three and injured six others.
“We will invite for questioning these persons regarding the incident,” Maj. Realan Mamon, town police chief, told reporters Tuesday.
Mamon said they have ample evidence and testimonies from witnesses but refused to divulge further details pending follow-up operations.
“We have traced extortion as the primary motive of the incident,” Mamon said without elaborating. “We are continuously digging into the case linking a certain group to the incident based on the availability of evidence we have right now.”
Col. Bernard Tayong, North Cotabato deputy provincial director, said samples of recovered burnt fragments from the bus were sent to the Bureau of Fire Protection national headquarters’ laboratory to determine the chemicals used.
North Cotabato Governor Nancy Catamco and M’lang Mayor Russel Abonado earlier offered a PHP100,000 reward to anyone who can lead authorities to the whereabouts of the arsonists.
The incident along Barangay Bialong claimed the lives of bus passengers John Roy Ramil Jr., 28, and Hazel Mallo Gallardo, both of M’lang; and Arnold Patron of Tulunan town.
Injured were Joseph Lubay of Tupi, South Cotabato; Norhana Gumbao of Koronadal City; Abdulhaq Delna of Datu Paglas, Maguindanao; and Jonah Jane Ramil, Tessie Verdadero, and Diane Dancil, 28, all from this town. (PNA)