Zamboanga police chiefs rebuked for bomb attacks
The Philippine National Police has warned police chiefs that they may be removed from their posts over their “sloppy” security measures following the successive bomb attacks in Mindanao.
PNP Director for operations Maj. Gen. Valeriano de Leon said Brig. Gen. Franco Simborio, the director of the Zamboanga Peninsula regional police office, was assessing whether there were lapses in intelligence gathering and implementation of security measures in Isabela City, Basilan province, where two people were injured in Monday’s twin explosions.
“Our PNP officer in charge Lt. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr. has ordered our regional directors to continuously conduct thorough investigation on said incidents to find out if there are lapses in the intelligence units and personnel,” De Leon said in a statement on Thursday.
“We cannot sacrifice that every day we suffer bombs in your respective areas. Or maybe there are other more competent police officers who can replace those commanders,” he added.
The first blast occurred around 5:45 p.m. in a fast-food chain’s parking area in Barangay Isabela Proper. According to the police, a man wearing a yellow T-shirt and a cap, appeared in the parking area to place a small container inside a cellophane, which later exploded.
The second explosion happened shortly at 6:15 p.m., at the garage of D’Biel Transportation Co. bus company in Barangay La Piedad—around a kilometer from where the first explosion happened.
Police said a passenger who boarded one of the buses left a box of alcoholic beverages, which later detonated.
According to De Leon, a special investigation task group was created to look into the motives and perpetrators of the bombings.
He said experts have already been tapped to identify the persons who were believed to have planted the bombs and to determine the signature of the bomb, which could lead to the identification of the groups behind it, based on the data on past bombing incidents.
Based on how the two bombings in Isabela City were carried out, De Leon said the initial assessment was that the attacks were meant to disrupt business in the area. Another possible motive investigators were eyeing was that the local terror groups just wanted to make their presence felt.
“This should be a compelling reason for commanders to exhaust all the measures to protect their respective [areas of responsibilities],” De Leon said.
Two days before the bombings in Isabela City, De Leon issued a memorandum to all directors of the police regional offices in the country to intensify the security measures in their respective areas, following the two bus bombings in the cities of Tacurong and Koronadal.
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