Duterte denies ordering expert to sneak bomb inflight

But Duterte said he hired the man, identified as Samson Macariola, as
resource speaker in a seminar for local security personnel. Macariola was
contracted by the city government to be consultant on firearms and
ammunition management services from July 1 to December 31 this year.

The mayor, also head of the Regional Peace and Order Council, said he never
asked Macariola to bring a bomb inside an airplane. "Even carrying a
rebentador (firecracker) is prohibited in the city. I wouldn't do that
(allow Macariola to sneak a bomb into a commercial aircraft)," he said.

"I am a mayor who protects the lives of people," Duterte told Pastor Apollo
Quiboloy who conducted the live interview. "I wouldn't risk the lives of
people with that. I am not stupid,” he said.

Duterte said he is angry with Macariola for lying about the supposed stunt
and insinuating he commissioned it.

He said he was responsible for bringing Macariola to the city but
clarified "I'm not his boss in the supposed experiment.”

Duterte said he still does not know if, indeed, it was Macariola who was
interviewed by journalist Arlyn dela Cruz. Dela Cruz did not name her source
in her Sept. 1 report.

Duterte said he is for experimentation, but was against the method carried
out. He said he would go for that if it is properly done, in controlled
conditions, and under the supervision of authorities and experts.

Duterte said he does not believe Macariola was able to sneak bomb materials
into the flight. He said he is satisfied with the layers of security
procedures in both Manila and Davao airports.

"There was no bomb at all. This is a pure hoax," Duterte told reporters
prior to his TV appearance. He claimed, contrary to what has been reported,
that only dummy materials of a bomb component were on the man's shoes.

Duterte called the act unacceptable "as it would put public safety in
jeopardy". "Nobody, not even me, not even the President, ought to tinker
with explosives," he said.

Duterte said that as an expert on explosives, Macariola knew that mere
possession of explosives is already unlawful.

He denied having been at the receiving end of the President’s wrath, adding
he wouldn’t do anything that could put her administration down. He also
denied setting a meeting between President Arroyo and Macariola. "I wouldn't
advise the President to do that. It's a waste of her time," he said.

In 2003, President Arroyo appointed Duterte as a crisis manager amid bombing
incidents in Southeastern and Southwestern Mindanao. Arroyo created the
Davao-based Task Force Davao, a counter-terrorist unit under the Army.

A bomb exploded on March 4 that year in an airport waiting shed here and at
the waiting shed of Sasa wharf on April 2. Authorities investigated how the
bomb, allegedly placed inside a backpack, could have escaped the notice of
security personnel of the supposedly tightly secured airport.

In September that year, Macariola was tapped by the Task Force Davao to
train new recruits of the task force to familiarize on weapons and
improvised explosive devices to counter possible terrorist attacks,
according to his resume (read related story).

Macariola claimed in an interview earlier this month that he pulled off the
stunt in a two-way flight between Manila and Davao on Aug. 14 to test
security arrangements in these two busy airports.

The report, which came out at the Philippine Daily Inquirer drew mixed
reactions, barely a month after a plot to blow up planes in flight from
Britain to the United States was allegedly disrupted and as the anniversary
of the September 11 World Trade Center bombing draws nearer.

In a briefing with Manila reporters on September 6, Executive Secretary
Eduardo Ermita said the experiment was not officially sanctioned and that
Macariola should be charged with possible violation of the provisions of the
Revised Penal Code or for unjust vexation or alarm and scandal, at least."

"I have already said my truth, now he has to explain his (Macariola’s)
lies, "Duterte said.