Bombs being kept as evidence in a court case went off Monday morning at the Rizal police provincial headquarters in Tanay, Rizal, leaving eight people—five of them policemen—with minor injuries.
Supt. Nereo Torrecampo, provincial police deputy director, said they counted three explosions one after the other starting at 6:10 a.m. inside a building that housed the offices of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) unit, Scene of Crime Operations (Soco) and Explosives and Ordnance Division (EOD).
He told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a text message that the explosions were so strong these tore the roof off the one-story structure. It also damaged six police vehicles and other nearby buildings.
According to Rizal police public information officer Insp. Lisa Reyes, among those hurt were Chief Insp. Ruben Apostol, Police Officers 3 Ferdinand Jaramilla, Ferdinand Nonesa and Malvin Alfante, and PO2 Jose Grafel Tiberio who were hit by glass shards from broken windows and other flying debris.
Some of the fire volunteers who rushed to the scene also suffered injuries. Jaime Valencia, Elpidio Asis Jr. and Ramil dela Rosa, along with the injured policemen, were taken to the hospital for treatment.
Reyes said the building where the bombs were kept was destroyed. She narrated that witnesses first spotted smoke coming from the EOD office followed five minutes later by several explosions.
She said the fire, which was believed to had been caused by faulty electrical wiring, spread to the SWAT office where the bombs were kept, triggering the blasts.
The police have yet to determine the number of bombs that went off although Torrecampo said dynamite and M-203 grenades were also being kept in the building as part of the SWAT unit’s equipment.
He added that they would investigate why the explosives were kept inside the SWAT office when this was against standard operating procedures. “There’s a proper way and place to store explosives,” he said.
The blaze which did not even reach the first alarm was put out around 7 a.m. with the damage to property estimated at P5 million. With Kristine Felisse Mangunay