MANILA, Philippines — The number of fatalities from the explosion in Cotabato City Monday afternoon rose to eight, police said Tuesday.
Senior Superintendent Rolen Balquin said two more victims died while being treated in the hospital following the blast that occurred on Sinsuat Avenue in Cotabato City around 4:40 p.m. Monday.
He also said police were looking into the possibility that the attack was intended for City Administrator Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi as the explosive device, planted in a vehicle, went off as she passed by it.
Two of Sayadi’s security escorts, her first cousins, died on the spot, while Sayadi, whose SUV was bulletproof, escaped only with a bruise on her knee.
“She has been receiving threats. Maybe the suspects were able to monitor her movements,” Balquin said.
Sayadi said that she strongly believed she was the target of the attack.
In a separate interview, Chief Superintendent Charles Calima Jr. said Sayadi was on her way to the Central Elementary School to check on flood victims when the attack transpired.
He also said Sayadi had been requesting security escorts every time she would go home.
Over 30 persons were injured but only 13 remain at the hospital, Calima said.