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MANILA, Philippines -- Two members of the elite police unit, Special Action Force, one of whom has died, have been implicated in the January 2011 bombing of a bus in Makati City that killed four persons, all civilians, and wounded 14 others.
Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo said witnesses had positively identified Police Officer 2 Arnold Mayo, against whom multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder charges have been filed, and the late Police Officer 3 Jose Torralba, as the persons who boarded the Fairview-bound Newman Goldliner bus on January 25, 2011 and then got off just minutes before an improvised explosive device went off inside the vehicle near the juncture of EDSA and Gil Puyat (Buendia) Avenue.
CCTV footage also captured the two boarding the vehicle with a backpack.
"A deeper investigation showed that the two were identified as those who boarded the bus as stated by witnesses," Robredo told InterAksyon.
Mayo and Torralba were also the same policemen who attempted to open a World War II-vintage bomb in a junk shop in Bicutan, Taguig City when it exploded on January 26 this year, exactly a year and a day after the Makati bus bombing.
Torralba and three others died in the blast.
Mayo has been detained but investigators remain clueless about the motive for the bus bombing because he "refuses to cooperate."
"He has invoked his right to remain silent and is letting his lawyers talk," Robredo said.
In June last year, a certain Julani Luganao Sison, alias Mojak, who was described as a communist rebel, was arrested in Quezon province for his alleged role in the bombing.
Robredo said the fact that a policeman was implicated in the blast has affected the Philippine National Police.
"But it's better to weed out the bad elements than leave them unpunished," he said.