MANILA—Authorities filed charges against the two suspects involved in the New Year's Eve blast in Cotabato City.
The Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) "Southseas" filed two counts of murder and 34 counts of frustrated murder against Salipudin Lauban Pasandalan and an alias "Saed Nur Kasim," who remains at large.
The charges were filed on Wednesday afternoon before Cotabato City Prosecutor Anwar Masacal.
Police said on Tuesday that Pasandalan turned himself in, after watching news reports identifying him as a suspect, based on mall surveillance footage.
Although he denied being involved, police found circumstantial evidence linking him to the attack. He was seen at a comfort room and lottery outlet with another suspect, who allegedly planted the explosives.
Authorities said the suspects planted an improvised explosive device (IED) at 1:49 p.m. on December 31, 2018 in front of Southseas Mall that exploded, killing two and wounding 34 others.
The blast came just weeks before a plebiscite in January that will determine the scope of the Bangsamoro autonomous region, which was created as part of a peace deal between Manila and Moro rebels in 2014. — With a report from Zhander Cayabyab, ABS-CBN News