Cops still ‘clueless’ on GenSan blast

GENERAL SANTOS CITY(MindaNews/25 July) – Authorities are still determining the motive of the blast caused by an incendiary explosive that injured a tricycle driver here Tuesday night, said Chief Supt. Alex Paul Monteagudo, Region 12 police director.

Monteagudo said the explosion at around 8 p.m. involved an Isuzu Crosswind sports utility vehicle parked in front of the Sarangani Merchandising II hardware store along Papaya Street.

He said the vehicle was registered to businessman Luis Tan, who also owns the hardware store.

The blast triggered a huge fire that totally burned the vehicle. It caused the vehicle’s fuel to spread towards other nearby vehicles but was immediately contained by responding elements from the Bureau of Fire Protection.

Store employees and bystanders said they initially heard a loud explosion coming from within the vehicle before flames engulfed it.

“It was an incendiary explosion,” Monteagudo told reporters.

“It may have been caused by a container that was filled with gasoline, placed near the vehicle’s fuel tank and was set on fire,” he explained.

A tricycle driver identified as Alfredo Sanchez, who was just passing by at the time, sustained several injuries after he was hit by debris coming from the vehicle.

Sanchez has been declared stable and is now recuperating at a local hospital here.

Monteagudo said they were still determining the motive and the exact type of explosive used but said their investigators were considering several angles as behind the incident.

Tan, who was inside the store when the explosion happened, said they did not notice any unusual movement within and near the vehicle prior to the incident.

He said the blast scene, which is near a tricycle terminal, was practically deserted when the explosion came.

“There was initially a brownout at around 7 p.m. and when power was restored about an hour later, my vehicle suddenly blew up,” he said in a radio interview.

Tan said he could not think of any possible motive for the incident , noting he has not received any threat before it happened.

He also denied receiving any extortion letter or demand from any group prior to the incident. (Allen Estabillo/MindaNews)