Senior Supt. Robert Kiunisala, South Cotabato police director, said a report from the police crime laboratory here confirmed that the components of the explosive that were recovered at the scene and later reconstructed were that of a hand grenade.
He said the grenade could have accidentally exploded at around 10:45 p.m. while its suspected carrier, 27-year-old vendor Glen Octaviano, was reportedly walking towards the city's oval plaza, where the culmination activities for the city's 9th Kalilangan Festival and 69th foundation anniversary were then ongoing.
Octaviano was instantly killed while six other persons were injured.
"(Octaviano's) hands and lower extremities were badly hit so it appears that he was carrying it when it exploded," said Kiunisala, who facilitated on Thursday the retrieval of the body of Octaviano, who hails from Sto. Nino town in South Cotabato.
Kiunisala said Octaviano's remains will be brought today to his home in Barangay South Sepaka in Sto. Nino.
Police officials here initially tagged the incident as a case of "suicide bombing" but later ruled it as an accidental explosion.
Chief Supt. Felizardo Serapio, Region 12 police director, said Octaviano appeared to have targeted the ongoing revelry at the oval plaza but may have run out of time while trying to penetrate the tight security cordon in the area.
Serapio said the incident was clearly not related to the January 30 bomb blast in front of the Philbest tuna canning plant in barangay Calumpang here that killed four persons and injured more than a dozen others.
The bomb attack was later claimed by the Al-Khobar extortion group, which had been tagged in a string of bomb explosions in several passenger buses and a department store in Southwestern Mindanao since last year.
Police investigators have yet to determine the motive of the Wednesday night explosion but several vendors who knew Octaviano claimed that he harbored grudges against some policemen who evicted him from his usual area in front of City Hall last Sunday.
A police official reportedly kicked Octaviano's cart, destroying a glass container filled with the pineapple juice he was selling. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)