MANILA, Philippines — President Aquino has condemned last Friday’s explosion that ripped through a restaurant in Cagayan de Oro City that left at least six people dead, and ordered the police to identify the perpetrators.
“The President wasn’t happy with it. His initial reaction was to condemn this act of senseless violence. We’ve seen the scene of the crime,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said over government-run dzRB.
That’s why the President issued orders to the Philippine National Police to conduct a “clean investigation” in accordance with due process in order to identify the perpetrator or mastermind, Valte said.
Most of the casualties were doctors and health workers who had converged at Cagayan de Oro City for conventions.
Valte also said that Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II has ordered an inquiry into why police allowed the restaurant owners to clean up the crime scene the next day.
“They are trying to reconstruct now the crime scene because apparently the owners were allowed to clean up even before a clearance was given by the police. So now they are trying to reconstruct it—the crime scene and the effect—as well as they’re going through the CCTV,’’ she said.
Valte said it was up to Roxas, who flew to Cagayan de Oro and inspected the crime scene, to determine who should be held responsible for the cleanup of the crime scene.
“It seems the Secretary had strong words [for the investigators] after finding out that the crime scene had already been cleaned even before clearance was given,’’ she said.
Valte also appealed to the public not to speculate on the motive behind the bombing during the investigation.
The explosion has set off speculations that this was designed to derail government’s peace negotiations with Moro rebels, or embarrass President Aquino, who received visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Malacañang last Saturday.
“Some motives have surfaced but as of this point, we will defer to the investigation. It would not be prudent for us at this point to make any comment on any supposed motive while the investigation is ongoing,” Valte said.
Valte said that the investigators should be allowed to do their work, specifically “reconstruct the crime scene,” without being distracted by such speculations.
“They are trying to figure out what happened antecedent to the blast and we would like to keep to that first. Let’s allow them to do their jobs before we comment. Let’s allow the investigators to find out really what the motive was before we make any comment,” she said.
The local government has been assisting the victims, Valte said.