Police eyeing 3 persons of interest behind Davao blast

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/04 Sept) — Police authorities here said they have three persons of interest – a male and two females – who might be behind the explosion Friday at the night market along Roxas Avenue that claimed the lives of 14 people and wounded 70 others.

Police Regional Office (PRO) 11 spokesperson Senior Insp. Andrea Dela Cerna said some of their eight witnesses have pointed to the three, although she clarified that they are not necessarily suspects yet.

She said that Special Investigation Task Group-Roxas Night Market is reviewing the closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage during the explosion to determine their identities or those of other people who might have hand in the blast that occurred at the massage area.

“We are not limiting to the three persons of interest. There could be more,” she said.

She added that they are still reconstructing the debris recovered from the blast site to identify what explosive device was used last September 2 that would also point to what group masterminded the explosion.

IN MEMORIAM. Flowers and candles for the victims of Friday night's blast. MindaNews photo by Antonio L.
IN MEMORIAM. Flowers and candles for the victims of Friday night’s blast. MindaNews photo by Antonio L. Colina IV 

Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio told reporters after the memorial mass at the blast site Saturday that she was reopening the Roxas Night Market and vendors are still welcome if they want to come back.

But none of the vendors returned as of Saturday evening, the night after the bombing Only the red fences placed by the City Traffic and Transportation Management Office (CTTMO) that maintained order among vendors, night market-goers, and vehicles were there.

At least 200 security personnel have been detailed around Roxas, according to Davao City Police Office (DCPO) director Senior Supt. Michael John Dubria.

He said they are studying if they can put a fence around the night market and designate entry and exit points to ensure the safety of the night market-goers.

Vendor Ruby Rose Lora, one of the owners of the Liempolicious, said they are not returning as of yet but she is worried about the other vendors who survive on selling street food.

Lora was saddened by the incident but thankful that she and her business partners Abelyn Abellana and Eduardo Llanes Jr. were spared from the apparent danger.

She said their food stall was previously located right where the blast happened before the City Government closed down the Roxas Night Market on August 3 due to some vendors breaking rules.

A more orderly Roxas Night Market was reopened on August 13.

She said one of those who perished, Cristelle Decolongon, of Surallah in South Cotabato and a student at the San Pedro College, had frequented her food stall.

Official count

Lawyer Raul A. Nadela Jr., chief of staff of the Mayor, told reporters Sunday that the official number of fatalities was 14 while there were 70 wounded.

Those who were killed were Jay Adremesin, Maria Luz Arellano, Mercy Basilisco, Rogelio Cagantas, Cristelle Decolongon, Daniel Larida and mother Melanie Faith Larida, Pipalawan Macacua, Eufermia Biscocho, Kristia Gaile Bisnon, Ruth Merecido, Salvador Reginaldo Nagal, Christian Denver Reyes, and Evelyn Sobrecarey.

Nadela added that they continue to extend assistance to the families of the killed and wounded victims and will open a bank account on Monday to receive donations from well-meaning individuals.

He said they are receiving inquiries how people can donate cash.

“We’ve been receiving inquiries how they can donate. As of now, we’re telling them to direct their donations to the families,” he said.

He said the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office will also help the blast victims. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)