TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Indonesian Ambassador to the Philippines, Sinyo Harry Sarundajang, said the Philippine National Police (PNP) had not released evidence of the alleged involvement of Indonesian citizens in the bombing of a church on Jolo Island on January 27, 2019.
"Local authorities have not issued the results of DNA testing and official images of security cameras from the bombing site suggesting that the bombers were Indonesian nationals, as claimed by Secretary Ano," Harry said in a written statement in Jakarta, Tuesday, February 5.
Allegations about the involvement of two Indonesians in the attack, which killed 22 people and injured 100, was first delivered by The Philippines Secretary of Interior and Local Government, Eduardo Ano.
In a press conference in Visayas Province on February 1, Ano said that the suicide bombers were a married couple with Indonesian citizenships and an unnamed woman.
Both were assisted by Kamah, a member of the Ajang Ajang group affiliated with the Abu Sayyaf group. The faction has expressed its support for ISIS.
However, after an investigation by the Indonesian Embassy in Manila and the Indonesian Consulate General in Davao, the Philippines intelligence (NICA) said they do not know on what bases did Minister Ano say that Indonesians were involved in the attack.
"When contacted by the Indonesian Embassy in Manila, the NICA informally expressed its openness to conduct an investigation together with the Indonesian government," said Harry.
According to records of the Indonesian Embassy in Manila, this was not the first time that the Philippine government told the media that Indonesians were involved in bombings and terror attacks without any evidence and results of prior investigation.
A similar claim was made following a bomb explosion in Lamitan City, Basilan Province, on July 31, 2018 and the New Year's Eve bombing in Cotabato City. "However, the results of the investigation showed that no Indonesian were involved," Harry said.
To address the spreading of unverified news, the Indonesian Embassy in Manila will ask for direct clarification from the Philippines' Foreign Affairs Minister and Interior Minister. The Indonesian government will also send a verbal note asking for clarification from the Philippine government, and express objections because there was no notification from them regarding the alleged involvement of Indonesian citizens in the bombing at Jolo Island.