CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/11 October) — Two persons were killed and two others were wounded when one of two improvised explosive devices discovered at a hotel on JR Borja corner Aguinaldo Sts. around 1:50 am today, went off shortly after police officers responded to the call from the desk officer of the hotel.
Killed on the spot was Rudy Jote, an employee of an inn adjacent to the hotel, and a certain “Toto,” a dispatcher of multicabs bound for Barangay Camaman who died two hours after he was taken to a hospital.
Two of the policemen who responded were wounded, a regional police official said, Thursday.
“Police Officer 1 Dexter Daño sustained one bone fracture on his upper torso and a leg wound while Police Officer 1 Rogelio Canilanza suffered a leg wound. They were trying to disperse the bystanders when the first IED exploded,” Police Regional Director Chief Supt. Gil Hitosis said.
Victoriano del Rosario, a security guard in one of the buildings in front of the hotel, said in an interview that he first noticed a package wrapped in cellophane around 1am today. He added he then alerted the security guards of the hotel and in an adjacent lodging house.
“We thought it was a pair of shoes but when we examined closer, we saw what appeared to be a cooking pot and a cell phone inside. We suspected it to be an explosive device, so we called up the police,” del Rosario said.
Danilo Alonto, a guest of a lodging house beside the hotel, discovered the second IED underneath a parked pickup’s right front wheel owned by the GMA TV engineering crew at around 8am.
In an interview, Alonto said he informed the security guard of the building, who in turned called the city police.
However, it could not be confirmed if the second IED was planted before or after the first one exploded.
Composite personnel from the police bomb squad and 4th Infantry Division’s explosive and ordnance Division detonated the second IED away from bystanders at around 9:00am.
In a press conference at Camp Vicente Alagar, Hitosis said they have already gathered fragments of the first IED but they still had no suspects in mind.
The fragments include concrete, canister metal strip, concrete nails, motherboard of a cellphone, SIM pack and the metal casing of a blasting cap.
“We have no solid evidence to connect the bombing with any group. The bomb was planted on the side and front area of the hotel, so we are looking into possibility of someone who has a grudge with the hotel management,” said Hitosis.
He added that even in their intelligence reports prior to the bombing they could not find “solid ground to connect some inference on the peace talks between the government and MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front).”
“I am calling a case conference with all the intelligence units in the region today. We have also included the intelligence units of 4ID,” he said but added “I must anticipate na hindi sa Cagayan de Oro lang ito.”
For his part, 4ID spokesperson Lt. Col. Eugenio Julio Osias IV said they too still could not pinpoint the perpetrators of the bombing but are “looking at all angles.”
“We cannot disclose anything as of the moment. We are looking at all angles. We cannot rule out anything but we cannot also pin-point as of the moment,” Osias said in a phone interview.
“The PNP is the lead agency in the investigation but we will help secure the city through coordination with the PNP,” he added.
Meanwhile, City Mayor Vicente Emano, who was at the crime scene, doubted that a terrorist group was behind the bombing.
“Dili kini bomba sa terorista. Wala sukad sa entero kalibutan nga terorista magpaboto ug bomba sa walay tao ug alas dos sa buntag. Lain ang tuyo ini. (This is not a bomb of a terrorist. Nowhere in the world will a terrorist plant a bomb away from crowded places and 2am in the morning.),” Emano said. (Cong Corrales/MindaNews)