Politicians behind Cotabato blast, says mayor

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 6 Aug) – Rival politicians of the Guiani clan are behind Monday’s blast here downtown that killed eight people and wounded many others, according to City Mayor Japal Guiani Jr., who claimed that the masterminds “have already been identified.”

The mayor said it was obvious that he and his sister, City Administrator Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi, were the target of the politicians with “private armed groups.”

The bomb that set on fire four vehicles, five motorcycles and seven business establishments, exploded when the bulletproof vehicle of the mayor’s sister was passing by, police said.

“I have documents here that I will turnover to the rightful authorities that will solve this problem,” Guiani claimed. He said those behind the bombing were “big people,” referring to politicians who may have been involved in kidnapping and illegal drug operations in the past.

But the mayor, as well as the police, refused to name names.

“If you look at it, for the past years there have been no more kidnappings in Cotabato City. So I think this is one of the reasons that this group hates me,” Guiani said.

He claimed he has been receiving threats since sitting in power in in 2010.

The mayor said the attackers had apparently already plotted their usual route from city hall, and thus positioned the bomb-laden car at the right spot.

Chief Supt. Charles Calima, regional police director for Region 12, noted that the attackers are apparently aware of Sayadi’s bulletproof car, the reason they used a very powerful bomb. “Why was the explosion so big? Because the vehicle of their target was bulletproof,” he said.

Reports said 30 were injured in the blast, some of them confined at the Cotabato Regional Medical Center (CRMD), at the Notre Dame Hospital and at the Cotabato Polymedic Center.

At CRMD, eight patients are still confined for treatment.

The Mindanao Human Rights Action Center (MinHRAC) reported that as of 7 p.m. on Monday, there were six confirmed deaths and 30 injuries. At 7 a.m. today, the number of fatalities rose to eight.

But by 9:30 a.m., one of the patients at the CRMC died, MinHRAC said. MindaNews, however, later verified that there were only eight fatalities.