Police still ‘clueless’ on Maguindanao explosion

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/4 March) – The police in Maguindanao province are still facing a “blank wall” on the roadside explosion that hit a passenger bus and injured five people Thursday morning.

Senior Supt. Marcelo Pintac, Maguindanao police director, said they are still investigating the bomb explosion in Barangay Kayaga in Pandag town which hit the back portion of a unit of Grand Transport Corp.

“We don’t have the motive yet as well as the group suspected behind the explosion,” he said in a radio interview here.

Pintac said they are “prudently conducting” an investigation that would pave the way to establish a strong case against the perpetrators.

The Grand bus unit was traversing towards Davao City from Tacurong City in Sultan Kudarat province when the improvised explosive device went off around 6 a.m. Thursday along the highway of Pandag town, police said.

But Pintac did not confirm nor deny if the notorious extortion group Al Khobar gang could be behind the explosion, reiterating that investigations were still ongoing.

In the past, other bus companies have also been attacked, resulting in deaths and injuries, which authorities blamed on the Al Khobar gang.

In October last year, a bomb exploded inside the Rural Transit bus while cruising towards Tacurong City from Cagayan de Oro City. At least nine people died and more than two dozens were injured by the explosion.

The bomb explosion Thursday happened as Maguindanao province remains under a state of emergency, which was imposed following the November 23, 2009 massacre in Ampatuan town that killed 58 people, 32 of them media workers.

Current Gov. Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu had sent female clan members to file his certificate of candidacy when the grisly crime was committed. The slain media workers were there to cover the filing.

Several members of the then politically powerful Ampatuan clan were blamed for the massacre, which include former Maguindanao governor Andal S. Ampatuan Sr. and his sons Andal U. Ampatuan Jr., former mayor of Datu Unsay town, and Zaldy U. Ampatuan, suspended governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)