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 Suspect in Bar exam blast denies lobbing grenade

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PostSubject: Suspect in Bar exam blast denies lobbing grenade   Wed Oct 27, 2010 11:06 pm

UPDATED 12:20 p.m. — A suspect in the September 26 Bar examinations explosion denied his involvement in the crime after he was brought to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for questioning on Wednesday.

According to Vice-President Jejomar Binay and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, the suspect, Anthony Leal Nepomuceno, maintained his innocence.

Nepomuceno, a call center agent, graduated from the Manuel L. Quezon University. He belongs to the Alpha Phi Omega fraternity.

The suspect is accused of being the one who lobbed the grenade during the traditional Salubong, wherein well-wishers, law students, and relatives greet Bar examinees after taking the test.

More than 40 people were hurt in the incident, including San Sebastian College law student Raissa Laurel who lost her legs.

No detention

De Lima said the suspect will not be detained yet because no formal charges have been lodged against him.

Still, she said Nepomuceno's lawyers assured them that the suspect would cooperate in the investigation.

"Pwede siyang lumabas anytime. I leave it to the NBI kung ano ang next step (Nepomuceno can go anytime now. I leave it to the NBI to take the next steps)," said De Lima.

She added that while Nepomuceno claimed he is innocent, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has strong evidence to implicate him as the grenade-thrower because of several eyewitness accounts.

"[The pieces of evidence] are strong enough because there are eyewitnesses and sworn statements," said De Lima.

She also said the suspect was brought to the NBI clandestinely so that he will not be "paraded before the media."

"He has a constitutional right of presumption of innocence," she added.

Same fraternity

Binay facilitated Nepomuceno's surrender because they belong to the same fraternity.

De Lima said Binay only learned that the suspect was an APO member on Tuesday.

"I called the Vice-President and he told me that he will try to ask his fraternity and see what he can do to help," De Lima said at a news briefing.

She claimed that she was surprised to learn from Binay this morning that their group would turn over Nepomuceno to authorities.

De Lima also said she will ask the NBI to determine whether members of the APO fraternity had coddled the suspect before he surrendered to Binay

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