CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 27 July) – A bomb explosion ripped through a row of upscale restaurants at the LimKetKai Rosario arcade, a popular bar strip here, killing six persons and injuring 28 others on Friday night, officials said.
Among those who died was Misamis Oriental provincial board member Roldan Lagbas, 44, a first termer who won his seat under the Padayon Pilipino banner in the last May elections.
The rest of the fatalities were medical representatives and guests of pharmaceutical firm Novartis Sandoz who were here to attend the national midyear convention of the Philippine College of Chest Physicians at the Grand Caprice Restaurant at the LimKetKai compound.
Senior Supt. Graciano Mijares, city police chief, identified the fatalities as Emmanuel Falafox, the company district manager and a resident of Zamboanga City; Antony Cañete, a resident of Iligan City; Ryan Estose, a resident of Mega Heights in Barangay Gusa, this city; and Antonio Paredes, also a resident of this city.
Mijares said a guest of the medical representatives, Dr. Erwin Malanay, also died.
Police said the bomb believed to be an improvised explosive device or (IED) exploded around 11:10 p.m., sending shrapnel ripping through the two adjoining restaurants, Candy’s and Big Flat Bread.
Mijares said the explosive was placed on the table of medical representatives who were partying at Kyla’s restobar after sessions of the PCCP convention for the day ended. (The PCCP decided to abruptly end the convention, supposed to end this evening, sources say.) The explosion killed three of the medical representatives on the spot.
He said 28 persons were wounded and rushed to various hospitals in Cagayan de Oro.
Mijares said Lagbas, who was sitting at a table at Candy’s only five meters away, was hit by shrapnel.
Misamis Oriental Vice Governor Jose Marie “Joey” Pelaez said Lagbas was hit at the back of his head and died an hour later at the Cagayan de Oro Medical Center.
The police’s Scene-of-the-Crime (SOCO) investigators found shrapnel as far as 50 meters away. A shrapnel was found lodged at the Pancake House, more than 36 meters away across the street from the blast site.
Leoncio Co, a senior manager of the LimKetKai group of companies, said he was entertaining a guest at the Big Flat Bread when the bomb exploded.
Co said the three restaurants – Kyla’s, Candy’s and Big Flat Bread – were full of people partying because it was a Friday night. He estimated there were at least 300 people sitting in the open spaces outside the restaurants.
“It sounded like an explosion of an electric transformer but I can feel the shockwave passing through my ears. My back was turned towards Kyla’s at that time,” Co narrated.
Co said he knew immediately that a bomb exploded behind him as he and his guest were drinking beer.
“I remembered asking my guest if he was hit and I stood up, touching my body with my hands to see if I was hit,” Co said.
When he looked around, Co said there was already pandemonium as guests, many of them bloodied, ran to get away from the blast site.
Co said he immediately called the security guards of the shopping mall and organized them to bring the wounded to the hospital.
Mijares said they could not yet determine the motive of the bombing nor the type of explosive device.