POLICE on Wednesday arrested two “persons of interest” in relation to the foiled bombing near the US Embassy, in a manhunt that took authorities to a remote village in Bulacan.
Operatives of the Manila Police District (MPD) and the Bulacan Provincial Police Office nabbed Rayson Kilala, also known as Rashid Kilala, 34, and a companion in Barangay Bagumbayan in Bulakan town.
Kilala was nabbed by police a day after the Philippine National Police (PNP) released a computer-generated sketch of the man seen leaving the box that contained an improvised explosive near the US Embassy in Manila last Monday.
The man placed the bomb in a trash can about 100 meters away from the embassy on Roxas Boulevard. A street sweeper found the bomb, which was detonated by the MPD bomb squad.
MPD director Sr. Supt. Joel Coronel said earlier the bomb was made up of an 81-mm mortar, a 9-volt battery, an old mobile phone, a switch and a blasting cap.
Investigators are looking into the similarities of the bomb with those that were used in the September 2 Davao City night market blast, which killed 15 people and prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to declare a nationwide state of lawless violence.
PNP chief Ronald de la Rosa earlier said the terrorist Maute Group could be behind the bomb plot to divert attention from its members who had taken over the town of Butig in Lanao del Sur.
The incident prompted the US embassy to warn its citizens to stay alert and be vigilant while in the Philippines.
“Review your personal security plans, remain aware of your surroundings, including local events, and monitor local news stations for updates. Be vigilant and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security,” the embassy said in an advisory published on its website.