Narco-politicians could be behind Friday blast at Roxas night market – PDEA

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 7 Sep) – The Friday explosion at the Roxas Night Market that left 14 dead and 70 injured might be perpetrated by politicians publicly named by President Rodrigo R. Duterte in his anti-illegal drugs campaign, Philippines Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) 11 director Adzar Albani said on Wednesday.

Albani told a joint AFP/PNP press conference that they are not discounting the possibility that the bombing has something to do with the “narcoterrorism” involving affected politicians who might have planted the bomb in retaliation to Duterte’s drug campaign.

He said that these politicians, whose political dreams have been “hit-hard,” have remained to be under the authorities’ watch.

“Minamanmanan natin yung napangalanan na ni Presidente, at nasa target list din namin sila (We are keeping an eye on those who are previously named by the President and they’re also in our target list),” he said.

He said that many politicians have joined the illegal drug business as they can earn billions from it.

“There is so much money in drugs. Even politicians are involved because of money and the possibility of terroristic activities are not far-fetched. Nagkaroon ng (When there was) shame campaign and their political ambitions have been destroyed that some say ‘pinatay na sila ng minsan (they once died),’” he said.

Police Regional Office (PRO) 11 deputy director Supt. Valeriano de Leon said they are still reconstructing the fragments, which they got from the blast site and from bodies of the victims, believed to be from 60 mm and 81 mm mortar ammunitions that were fused into one explosive device.

De Leon, who heads the Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) Roxas Night Market, said the bomb was not really to harm but just to sow fear among the Dabawenyos.

He said the fragments could be similar to the 60mm illumination rounds encased in 81mm mortar recovered last June 26, 2016 from Buhangin District here that authorities believed was made outside the country.

De Leon said they now have four persons of interest – two males and two females – as identified by some of the eight witnesses.

He said they placed the security in the city a notch up higher following Friday’s incident, and urged the Dabawenyos to report any suspicious-looking individuals.

“We level up. Now, we request any suspicious persons to unload their bags, present documents, or travel documents, and open compartments of your vehicles. We apologize if this has caused you some delay, this is just for our own good,” De Leon said.

Brig. Gen. Casiano Monilla, deputy commander of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division, said that the military has also tightened the security of the city because any “disturbance in Davao would have greater impact not only in Mindanao but also in the entire country,” being the center of commerce and now the center of government. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)