Latest Stories

Cops eye politics behind 2 blasts in Basilan


ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines–The explosion that occurred just outside the house of Lamitan Vice Mayor Arleigh Esma and a second blast minutes later outside a chapel in Lamitan, Basilan Thursday night might have been politically-motivated, the Basilan police chief said Friday.

No one was reported hurt in both explosions, the first of which occurred around 9 p.m. outside Eisma’s house on Aguinaldo St. but the mayor’s pickup truck was damaged in the initial blast.

However, while believing the attacks could have been intended for Eisma, whose Zamboanga City-based lawyer survived an ambush last Saturday, Supt. Mario Dapillosa, the Basilan police chief, said the explosions could also be part of the Abu Sayyaf’s “diversionary tactic.”

Dapillosa said the Abu Sayyaf might have staged the bomb attack outside Eisma’s house and another explosion, which occurred a few minutes later, outside the main gate of the San Isidro chapel in Barangay Colonia, also in Lamitan, to draw the military’s attention away from a larger group in Ungkaya Pukan and Tipo-Tipo towns.

Since Monday, the military has been pounding on the group led by Puruji Indama and Isnilon Hapilon, which has been reportedly protecting suspected Malaysian terrorist Amin Baco.

But Eisma, the Liberal Party’s mayoral candidate for Lamitan, said he tended to believe the first police theory that the blasts were politically-motivated.

“The (first) bomb was planted at the rear portion of my vehicle. (Everyone knows that) I always use that vehicle for my campaign,” he said, adding that the area where the second explosion took place was populated by residents who had expressed support to his mayoral bid.

The vice mayor said he and his campaign team were fortunate enough because they decided to park the pickup truck outside the gate and not in the garage.

“If we had parked it in the garage, only God knows what would have happened,” he said.

In supporting his theory that the blasts were politically-motivated, Eisma claimed there had been previous attempts on his life. He also cited Saturday’s ambush on his lawyer, Zamboanga City-based Homer Mabale.

Mabale was on his way home with his aides, siblings Gerome and Manuel Lozada, when the car they were riding was fired upon by armed men inside Lopez Subdivision in Barangay Tugbungan in Zamboanga City. Mabale, who helped Eisma file charges against some personalities, was wounded in the attack while the Lozada brothers were killed.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Explosion , News , Police , Politics , Regions , terror

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  2. Chinese lawyers say they were tortured by police
  3. Hair salon’s Kim Jong Un poster riles embassy
  4. Siquijor ‘healer’: For every cure, there’s a plant
  5. State seeks guilty verdict for Abalos
  6. Why college grads end up in the PNP
  7. Estrada: I will pray for my detractors
  8. Miraculous image makes Gapan City top site for pilgrimage in Central Luzon
  9. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  10. Five men from Cavite found dead in jeep in Batangas
  1. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  2. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  3. Netizens cry: 6/55 Lotto was rigged
  4. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  5. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  6. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  7. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  8. ‘King’ Yabut and I: Driver bares Makati dad ‘abuses’
  9. It was difficult having Japanese blood
  10. Palace: We can’t blame increase in population on Vitangcol
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. UP back on top as ‘average’ student aces bar
  5. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  6. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  7. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  8. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  9. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  10. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’


  • Drug firm Novartis to help Leyte firefighter
  • Fears grow for hundreds missing in South Korea ferry capsize
  • Robot sub makes first complete search for plane
  • uFly fires flight simulator who appeared on CNN
  • DPWH allots P1.2 trillion for PH roads
  • Sports

  • Federer would skip tennis to be with wife, newborn
  • Manny Pacquiao in PBA? If so, he’ll wear No. 17
  • PSC sets Blu Girls US training
  • Power Pinoys settle for 7th place
  • Successful coaches to get raise
  • Lifestyle

  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  • Entertainment

  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Why Lucky has not bought an engagement ring for Angel
  • Derek more private with new girlfriend
  • ‘Community’ star happy with return of show’s creator
  • Jealousy is kid stuff
  • Business

  • PH presses bid to keep rice import controls
  • PSEi continues to gain
  • Number of retrenched workers rose by 42% in ’13
  • PH seen to sustain rise in FDIs
  • Gov’t subsidies to state firms fell in first 2 months
  • Technology

  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Tech company: Change passwords or suffer ‘Heartbleed’
  • Filling the digital talent gap
  • SSS to shut down website for Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
  • First Fil-Am elected to Sierra Madre, Calif. city council
  • UC Irvine cultural night to dramatize clash of values in immigrant family
  • Filipino sweets and info served at UC Berkeley Spring Fest
  • Milpitas, California kids wrap up a successful run of ‘The Wiz’
  • Marketplace