DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 19 Sept) – The improvised explosive devices (IEDs) used in last Monday’s twin bombings here could have come from the same source, police investigation shows.
Sr. Supt. Ronald dela Rosa, city police director, said in a press conference that experts from the Explosive Ordnance Division recovered from the blast sites similar IED components – shattered parts of a cellphone, 9V batteries, tin sheets from a tumbler, and pieces of plastic believed to be used as the container of the IED.
“These were probably assembled by the same person or group of persons,” he added.
The only difference, he pointed out, is that the bomb at SM Cinema 1 was placed inside a paper bag from a food chain, while the one from Gaisano Mall Cinema 5 was possibly housed inside a plastic container.
Examinations conducted by the Philippine National Police – Regional Crime Lab Office (PNP-RCLO) XI showed positive results of RDX and PETN in both IEDs. RDX stands for “research division explosives,” also known as royal detonation explosives, C4, cyclonite, hexogon, and T4. PETN, on the other hand, stands for Pentaerythritol tetranitrate, a highly explosive organic compound belonging to the same chemical family as nitroglycerin and nitrocellulose.
“Both chemical compounds are considered high explosives for military and industrial use,” Dela Rosa pointed out.
He opined that the motive of the bombers might not be to inflict injuries or death to moviegoers but to scare the public that they are capable of doing it, noting the time, location and lack of shrapnel on both IEDs.
The bombs exploded past 9 p.m. when only a few people were watching the cinemas’ last full show, although five victims from the Gaisano Cinema explosion suffered temporary loss of hearing.
Last Tuesday, a special investigation task group (SITG) was created, with the Davao City Police Office leading the group.
The group has so far identified two persons of interest in CCTV footages collected from the two cinemas as well as the DCLA Plaza, where cameras captured footage of a man buying 21 pieces of 9-volt batteries.
The first suspect was seen in the footage buying tickets at the SM City Cinema booth at 6:39 p.m., then immediately entering the cinema.
The male suspect was found entering the cinema wearing a white shirt with a light colored jacket on his left shoulder with a sling bag at his back.
At 7:28 p.m., the first suspect was seen leaving the cinema wearing the jacket, as well as a bull cap and the sling bag.
Dela Rosa described the suspect to be 5’5’’ to 5’6’’, of fair complexion and slim build, and estimated to be more or less 30 years old.
At 8:19 pm, the first suspect was then seen buying tickets at the Gaisano Mall Cinema.
Dela Rosa quoted the ticket vendor at the Gaisano Cinema that the suspect, who wore a bull cap indoors, did not make eye contact with her and acted suspicious.
The second suspect, on the other hand, was seen in the footage paying for batteries at the KSM Kim Sheng RTW and Fashion Accessories at 4:09 p.m. Mall attendants said they were the only distributor of the MSM-HK brand of 9V batteries in the city.
Dela Rosa showed a photograph of the receipt of the battery.
Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte announced he is giving the suspects 48 hours to surrender. After the deadline, which is 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, he said he will place a P1-million bounty for information that could lead to arrests.
The mayor said that as a security precaution, he will be requiring security personnel guarding establishments to ask visitors wearing sunglasses to remove their eyewear indoors as these are intended for outdoor use. His executive order takes effect Friday.
“If the guest complains or acts arrogantly, call the police. Or call me,” Duterte said.
Duterte and Dela Rosa noted that the suspect found buying tickets was seen to be hiding eye contact.
“All I ask is for the security personnel to talk to visitors courteously,” Duterte said.