PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—Police investigators are looking at political motives behind the blast that occurred Thursday afternoon almost simultaneously at two of Palawan’s prime tourist destinations located on opposite ends of the province and reportedly injured three persons.
Mayor Edward S. Hagedorn said he has asked the police to look into leads indicating the blast that wounded a person near the bus station in the village of San Jose just outside the city proper “may be instigated by certain political personalities.”
“It’s tempting to conclude based on what we’ve known so far that this is an attack that has political motives beneath it,” Hagedorn told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
“I’ve let our police investigators dig deeper into these leads and get
to the bottom of this,” he added.
The blast, Hagedorn said, was not intended by the perpetrators to create widespread damage as it was mostly explosive powder without accompanying shrapnel associated with terrorist-style attacks.
The observation was shared by Western Command commander Maj. Gen. Juancho Sabban who told reporters the blast was not characteristic of attacks made by terror groups such as the Abu Sayyaf.
“We will not allow incidents like this to affect our developing tourism industry,” Sabban said in a statement aired over RMN Palawan radio station.
Meanwhile, a police source confirmed to Inquirer that the blast in El Nido was triggered by a cellular phone, based on evidence collected by investigators from the scene.
In an earlier report on Friday, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said the first explosion happened at 5:20 p.m. Thursday, in front of Entaula Beach Resort, Zone 3, Barangay (village) Masagana, El Nido Palawan.
The other explosion, occurring minutes after the first, was at North Highway in Puerto Royal Express Bus Station behind the Petron Gas Station, Barangay San Jose, Puerto Princesa City, the NDRRMC said.
The injured in the first blast was identified as Aiza Gay Martinez Mallari, 23, who was working as a cook for the resort, it said.
Investigation showed that Mallari was throwing garbage outside the resort when the explosion happened, the NDRRMC said.
The victim was taken to the Dr. Reyes Clinic in Corong-Corong, ElNido, Palawan for immediate medical treatment.
The injured in the second were Marivic Aria, 28, who suffered minor injuries on her left ankle, and Cenon Magdayo, 75, who incurred minor bruises on his forehead and ankle, it said.
Aria and Magdayao were taken to the nearest hospital for medical treatment while investigations were still in progress, the NDRRMC reported.
Local police had deployed an explosives ordnance disposal team and the Joint task Force Malampaya to investigate.
Provincial Director Police Senior Superintendent Reynaldo Jagmis also dispatched the Police Provincial Office EOD and Scene of the Crime Operative team of the Palawan Crime Laboratory Office.
The police had also coordinated with the Armed Forces’ Western Mindanao Command for possible tactical reinforcement.
First posted 9:42 am | Friday, April 6th, 2012