We have to understand that before the deadly blast inside the Jolo, Cathedral. There’s already been several attempts to inflict serious casualties and damage to the church and the people attending masses or most importantly the priests.
According to the list recorded by Rappler. There’s been ”10 attempts” to bomb the church from the outside. Though it seems that those attacks were not too serious and failed to inflict significant casualties or damage to the church.
Here’s the list from Rappler :
June 3, 2000
A grenade is thrown at the cathedral. The attack comes amid negotiations for the release of hostages taken by the terrorist group in Mindanao.
March 27, 2006
The terrorist group initially targets the Jolo Cathedral but eventually bombs the nearby multipurpose cooperative building. A Philippine Star report quoted police investigators as saying that the plan shifted because the store “serves both as a religious and commercial target.”
The blast leaves at least 5 dead and 17 wounded.
July 7, 2009
A improvised explosive device (IED) detonates in front of a shop just 100 meters away from the cathedral, killing at least 6 people and injuring 40.
Authorities also discover at least two other IEDs within the area lodged inside a motorcycle parked 100 meters from the cathedral.
The blast is one of at least 4 that rocked Mindanao within a 12-hour period, according to a report by the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
October 27, 2009
A grenade explodes just outside the cathedral before the lunch time rush. No one is injured in the attack, which leaves damaged properties.
December 31, 2009
A grenade explodes in front of the cathedral late night on New Year’s Eve, wounding a soldier.
January 10, 2010
A grenade explodes just outside the church wall early Sunday morning, 20 minutes before the day’s first Mass. No casualties were reported.
According to witnesses, as quoted by the Catholic News Agency, an unidentified man threw the grenade at the tombs of late bishops Francis Joseph McSorley and Benjamin de Jesus.
May 21, 2010
A grenade explodes in a public plaza in front of the cathedral, damaging its gate. No injuries are recorded.
August 1, 2012
A grenade lands and explodes on the roof of the cathedral but leaves no casualties.
August 14, 2013
A grenade explodes outside the Jolo Cathedral, leaving at least one injured.
As evident with the current trends presented. It is likely possible that the attackers seemed to have decreased its scope and efficiency after 2010 to 2013. And the worst attacks happened during the term of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Then now under the term of Rodrigo Duterte — all hell breaks loose and the attack seemed to have even worsened.
Duterte incites violence against the Church, priests and bishops.. Could his speeches incited the bombing?
We’ve heard about the Anti Catholic rhetoric floating around social-media much more intensively as Duterte moves to consolidate his grip for power and control the narrative for the 2019 elections in favor for his endorsement.
Even Duterte himself has so many times been questioning the sacred rituals of the Church and even maliciously incited the citizens to come and rob bishops. Without going further into details about these speeches which you can always go and watch them on Youtube yourself if you’d like.
But Duterte has been playing the ‘Anti Catholic’ song after China came into picture and worsened when the Church slammed his brutal war on drugs which claimed the lives of more than 23,000 people.
Duterte might have even ordered the bombings himself
Mindanao is placed under martial law. Which supposedly strengthen the security forces in controlling the movement of arms and terrorists.
How could the bombing took place in an area supposedly be under military control under the effect of martial law? Many of Pro Duterte propagandists had been harping the martial law story saying that Mindanao has now become the place of utmost peace and prosperity brought about by imposing martial law. Has it really been more peaceful since?
So many questions floating around the attack on why it succeeded and worsened in the past couple of years. Despite higher intelligence budget and under full-blown military control. It’s hard to imagine that such atrocities could’ve been possible without the blessing of someone in the higher up of the military or perhaps the commander in chief himself.
Duterte known to be an expert in ordering bombings
If you remember from one of his former team-leader and most trusted Davao Death Squad operative SPO3 Arturo Lascañas who bared the details on how Duterte ordered the bombings of mosque’s in Davao City. According to him, Duterte gave them P300,000 after bombing several mosques in the province.
Bear in mind that SPO3 Arturo Lascanans corraborated with Matobato’s claim that Duterte had been bombing mosques in Davao province. Such irrefutable claim from Duterte’s most trusted men is quite alarming.
If you connect the dots. It’s pretty simple. For as long as there are anarchy and violence in the region. Duterte could simply harp the ‘Pro Martial Law’ rhetoric or even worst help inflict serious damage to the Catholic church and its people who’s now been his main enemy in his thrust to win the favor of China’s Anti Catholic Communist Party.
We will know who’s behind the attack soon. According to Western Mindanao Command chief Arnel dela Vega says the primary suspect behind the bombing is still the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group.