MANILA, Philippines?On Dec. 30, 2000, five bomb explosions struck Metro Manila.
Occurring within minutes of each other, the explosions hit the Light Rail Transit at Blumentritt in Sta. Cruz, Manila; a bus in Cubao, Quezon City; Plaza Ferguson in front of the US Embassy; an abandoned Petron station in Makati; and the parking area of the Centennial Air cargo terminal at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Casualty tallies remained conflicting to this day: Most media reports put the overall death toll at 22 and the number of wounded at about 100. As late as 2006, the PNP?s overall count was 14 dead and 91 wounded.
Based on justice department information, several witnesses identified accused suspect Moklis Hadji Yunos as the person who planted the bomb inside LRT.
On Jan. 15, 2002, police arrested Indonesian Fathur Rohman Al-Ghozi in Quiapo, Manila. He later admitted masterminding the plot to bomb the LRT.
On May 25, 2003, Yunos was arrested in Cagayan de Oro City while trying to board a flight to Manila.
Among those charged in the case were Indonesian Hambali and Malaysian Abubakar Bafana Faiz, supposedly top leaders of the militant Jemaah Islamiyah regional group.
Tagged as Asia?s most wanted man, Hambali was allegedly behind the spate of bombings in Southeast Asia since 2000. He was also reportedly linked with the al-Qaeda terrorist network.
On Aug. 11, 2003, Hambali was arrested by Thai authorities in Southern Thailand, and was later turned over to the US. Lawrence de Guzman, Inquirer Research