COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 5 Aug) – Hundreds of Cotabateños on Tuesday joined the march-rally commemorating last year’s deadly roadside bombing that killed eight persons and injured 40 others during a busy Ramadan afternoon.
Starting from the city hall at 3 p.m., the walk for justice proceeded to the explosion site along Sinsuat Avenue where people lit candles, offered prayers, laid wreaths and joined a ceremonial release of white balloons.
The main highway from city hall down to Side out Badminton court was temporarily closed for the ceremony.
Some wore black T-shirts with prints calling for justice, complete with black arm bands. They were joined by city government employees, barangay officials, priest and nuns and families of the victims.
The ceremony was led by City Administrator Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi, who was one of the survivors and believed to be the target of the bomb planted in a car parked in front of a funeral parlor.
In her speech, Sayadi expressed disgust over the snail-paced investigation of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). She noted that that there have been sufficient affidavits of witnesses and the owner of the car planted with explosives has been identified.
“Why is it that when Vhong Navarro was mauled, Manila acted right away? But when eight people died here in Cotabato City, they didn’t bother at all,” Sayadi lamented.
She also exposed that based on the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group’s (CIDG) investigation, the owner of the car planted with the bomb has now been identified as Puti Malingco, a former city hall employee. Thus, investigation should lead to the car owner, Sayadi pointed out.
The Sangguniang Panlalawigan passed a resolution today appealing to the NBI to swiftly finish the investigation.
“We are shouting for justice, justice for all, not only for one, for everybody, especially the people of Cotabato City,” Vice Mayor Abdullah Andang said.
On July 5, 2009, another powerful improvised explosive device went off during a Sunday mass conducted by then Archbishop (now Cardinal) Orlando Quevedo, which killed five persons and injured more than 30 others. The explosion was captured on the CCTV of the Central Bank of the Philippines office, which is just adjacent to the church along Quezon Avenue.