Sultan Mike Mariano, chairman of the Maranao Small Businessmen Cooperative, said he would consider this practice of exacting vengeance, common among several Moro tribes in Mindanao, as having triggered the explosion.
Mariano told MindaNews that he talked with the family of the 17-year-old suspect, who was among the injured victims, and found out that the father of the suspect was being hunted by some of his enemies from Malabang, Lanao del Sur.
“It is most probably [that] since they failed to take revenge on the father, they tried to do it to the son,” he said.
Mariano said the family of the suspect transferred here several years ago to avoid further dispute with the family in Malabang.
Police authorities have discarded the statement of the 17-year-old suspect that before the explosion, he felt someone hang something heavy on his shirt from behind and which he claimed he immediately took out and threw away after he realized it was a grenade. The suspect said the grenade exploded thereafter while the culprit fled.
The explosion happened at around 6:40 pm Thursday. Killed were Rodolfo Javier Salas, 52 and Editha Bocadon Dava.
Injured were Angel Canoto Bocadon, 34; Ruvyl M Watin,17; Marilou Matos, 18; Maribeth Jovita, 29; Romy Roquiña, 17, John Lucena 17, and the 17-year-old suspect.
Police stuck to its suspicion that the 17-year-old was the culprit and had him transferred to a military ward in General Santos City District Hospital. The suspect was first sent to St. Elizabeth Hospital Thursday night for treatment and interview.
Mayor Pedro Acharon, Jr. ruled out terrorism behind the incident.
But Mariano said he hoped that authorities “won't do something to the suspect that will coerce him to admit the accusation”.
Muslim leaders from different Moro tribes in the city gathered at the Office on Muslim Affairs this [Friday] morning to discuss the incident as they also condemned the crime.
Raja Muda Alimudin Hassan from the Royal House of Sugoda Buayan said the city has just celebrated the Tuna Festival “which the people here enjoyed peacefully”.
“Suddenly there is that explosion again which sows terror. If this is caused by a dispute between two parties, they must not involve deadly weapons in their squabble,” he said.
Jocelyn Lambac, vice-president of the Young Moro Professionals Council, said she was saddened by the incident. “Grenade explosion brings chaos. You cannot correct a mistake with another mistake.”
Sheikh Salih D. Musa, an Islamic scholar and country director of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth- Philippines cited a Qu’ranic injunction that said, “If a man kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is hell, to abide therein forever and the wrath and course of Allah is upon him, and a dreadful penalty s prepared for him.”
Lawyer Guialil Kanda, field director for the South Cotabato, Sarangani and General Santos City (SOCSARGEN) area of the OMA said his office was open for settlement of any dispute. (Gandhi C. Kinjiyo/MindaNews)