Police release sketch of suspect in Davao blast

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Philippine police on Wednesday, September 7, released a composite image of the man believed to have been behind a explosion in Davao City that claimed the lives of 14 people. 

In a press conference in Davao City, the Philippine National Police (PNP) described the suspect as male, slim, 5 feet and 7 inches tall, and roughly 30-years-old. The composite image is based on the memory of eye witnesses in the blast. 

Davao region police director Chief Superintendent Manuel Gaerlan said they will continue to review closed circuit television (CCTV) footage to get a clearer image of the suspect.

The local government of Davao City had earlier anounced a P2 million reward for information that would lead to the arrest of the suspect. Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte, emphasized that they want the suspect alive so they could get leads and information from him.

On Friday, September 2, an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded in the middle of a popular night market in Davao City. The Roxas Street blast killed 14 and injured at least 70 people. 

Initial investigation showed that the IED was composed of two mortal rounds.

Police have yet to determine the motive for the bombing but on Wednesday said that "extremists" were likely behind it. The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), the target of intensified operations in Sulu, supposed claimed responsibility for the blast but later denied it. 

On Wednesday, police said they were not discounting the possibility the government's ongoing "war on drugs" as a motive for the blast. A crackdown on illegal drugs has been among the key programs of the Duterte administration.

Davao police are also tracking down three "persons of interest," a man and a woman, in connection to the blast. The two women, Davao City police chief Senior Superintendent Michael John Dubria earlier said, were seen "tagging along" with the suspect.  

The PNP's third-in-command, Police Director Benjamin Magalong, flew into Davao on Wednesday to be briefed by regional and city police on the progress of the investigation. – Rappler.com