PNP: Extortion 'probable motive' behind Sultan Kudarat blast

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) is looking at extortion as the "probable motive" behind the explosion at a restaurant in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat which injured at least 18 people.

Speaking with Rappler in a phone interivew, Soccsksargen police chief Brigadier General Eliseo Rasco said the owner of the restaurant where the blast occurred reported extortion threats a week before the explosion.

"Last week nagreport sa police station yung may-ari ng Carlitos Chicken dahil nakareceive sila through text messages ng extortion demand (Last week, the owner of Carlitos chicken reported to the police station becuase he received extortion demands through text) ," Rasco told Rappler.

Rasco added: "Ngayon, nag-text daw ulit, 'Natanggap niyo na ba?' (The suspects texted again, 'Have you received it?')"

It's unclear what the conditions for the extortion demand were, but police suspect the usual: money.

This doesn't mean, however, that cops will shut the door on a terrorism motive, given that 8 months ago, two consecutive bombs exploded in Isulan and were attributed to local terror groups. (READ: 2 deadly bombings in a month demonstrate ISIS tactics)

"Terror is always possible, but we're going for the probable motive, the extortion, because of the extortion demands," Rasco added. –

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.