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Esperon awaits RP, US experts’ findings on recovered body

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By Joel Guinto
First Posted 13:31:00 03/26/2008

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Philippines — Military Chief General Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said Wednesday that Filipino and American forensic experts have yet to submit to him their findings on whether the body recovered in Tawi-Tawi province in mid-February was that of suspected bomb expert Dulmatin.

Esperon issued the statement in reaction to a wire report, quoting an Indonesian police spokesman as saying that DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) tests on the remains were inconclusive.

But earlier in the day, the Philippine National Police admitted that its inadequate equipment and the body’s advanced stage of decomposition have prevented them from taking DNA samples that could have determined the identity of the body.

“There is no report yet from the FBI [Federal Bureau of Investigation] or the [United States] embassy,” Esperon said in an interview with reporters here, on the sidelines of his visit to the Armed Forces Western Command (Wescom).

“If it is not Dulmatin, then we will go on looking for him. Let’s go on. We will go on looking,” he said.

Esperon said Ambassador Kristie Kenney was in the US to report to President George W. Bush, and while there, she could get the FBI test results.

When DNA test results on Abu Sayyaf chieftain Khadaffy Janjalani turned out to be positive in January 2007, Esperon said he was informed by telephone by the chief of the US military’s Pacific Command, and by Kenney.

Dulmatin, a member of the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), is one of the key suspects in the 2002 Bali bombings that killed some 200 people. He carries a $10-million bounty for his capture.

Together with another suspect in the Bali attacks, Umar Patek, Dulmatin had allegedly sought refuge in the southwestern Philippines with the Abu Sayyaf. Both the JI and the Abu Sayyaf have alleged links to the global terrorist network al-Qaeda.

Dulmatin was allegedly killed in an encounter with Marine troops in Panglima Sugala town in Tawi-Tawi last January 31. His alleged remains were recovered in the same town in mid-February.

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Written by joelguinto

WedUTC2008-03-26T06:03:11+00:00UTC03bUTCWed, 26 Mar 2008 06:03:11 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am03

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