NBI-9 apologizes for using "Muslim type" to describe bombing suspect

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Artist sketch of the suspect in the bombing incident in Zamboanga

Zamboanga City (CNN Philippines) — The National Bureau of Investigation Region 9 (NBI-9) on Monday (September 21) apologized for the use of what some netizens criticized as a racist term in describing a suspect in a bombing incident in Zamboanga last Friday (September 18).

Religious leaders of the Ulama Council of Zamboanga Peninsula trooped to the city hall to protest the use of the term "Muslim type" in describing the suspect in an artist sketch prepared by the NBI.

NBI-9 Regional Director Atty. Ferdinand Lavin said he takes full responsibility for what happened as he personally faced the Muslim leaders during an impromptu meeting inside the city hall's conference room on Monday.

Lavin said that the issue erupted when the sketch was uploaded on social media sites with the description, which was supposed to be confidential, included.

The phrase "Muslim type" was supposed to guide investigators in probing deeper into the personality of the suspect and could refer to any of the attributes of the suspect as stated by the witness.

Lavin said that he intends to raise the matter during conferences by the NBI to aid authorities in future investigations.

Netizens expressed indignation over the use of the term when the sketch together with the description started to appear on social media sites over the weekend.

Statements with corresponding photos of netizens with the statement "I am a Muslim type and I'm not a bomber" and the hashtag #ENDdiscriminationNOW were posted on social media sites by irate Internet users.

An artist sketch of an alleged bomber. Artist sketch is from NBI. What exactly is a "muslim type"? PLEASE EXPLAIN. pic.twitter.com/Pb6QIHcCXP

— ☪ (@ftmhgml) September 19, 2015

how low can the NBI go? apparently, they described the bombing suspect in Zamboanga as a "muslim type"

— kikko ck (@kckalabs) September 21, 2015