9 hurt in Taguig bombing after nearly 5-hour bomb scare in Pasay
MANILA, Philippines—A real explosive device went off in Taguig City and seriously wounded four people Wednesday night, after a bomb scare snarled traffic for about five hours on EDSA and other streets in the vicinity of the intersection of EDSA and FB Harrison Street in Pasay City. The jam stretched 19 kilometers on EDSA alone.
Police said they were eyeing a feud between two gangs as the cause of the grenade blast near a sari-sari store in North Signal Village in Taguig City at 10:38 p.m.
Nine people who were at the site were wounded but only four had injuries serious enough to warrant hospitalization, Senior Supt. Arthur Asis, Taguig police chief, told the Inquirer in a telephone interview.
Two of those wounded, Ricardo Ampil, 10, and Bert Malonzo, 42, were in critical condition at the intensive care unit of the Taguig-Pateros Hospital, Asis said.
The two happened to be just passing by the area when the grenade attack took place, Asis said.
He identified the two other victims hospitalized as Jonathan Miday and William Flores.
The incident happened an hour after police determined at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday that a bag that had been thrown onto the roof of a bus on EDSA in Pasay City at 5 p.m. contained no explosive at all. The intersection had been closed to traffic up to 9:30 p.m.
Asis said the fight between two youth gangs in Taguig started on Wednesday morning on the same spot where the explosion took place.
“The motive was personal grudge…. There was an exchange of threats,” Asis said.
On Wednesday night, two young men were seen running away after the explosion. A piece of the lever of a grenade was recovered at the site, leading the police to believe that the explosion was caused by a grenade.
“We are now hunting down these two people suspected to have lobbed the grenade,” Asis said.
Hours earlier, passengers panicked when a bag thrown from the footbridge at the intersection of EDSA FB Harrison Street and landed on the roof of a Bataan transit bus traveling on EDSA’s southbound lane at 5:01 p.m. Passengers and the bus driver and conductor got off the bus and summoned the police, cordoned off the area closed all lanes on EDSA.
The resulting traffic jam was a monstrous one that lasted four to five hours and extended for several kilometers on EDSA.
At 9:30 p.m., bomb experts from the Southern Police District, equipped with a bomb robot, a bomb basket and sniffer dogs, finally opened the bag and discovered it contained trash.
Fears of a possible bomb inside the bag were aroused when one of the dogs sniffed the bag and sat four times, a sign that that an explosive device could be inside.
The Pasay police had to wait for hours for the bomb disposal equipment they borrowed from the Aviation Security Group and Regional Public Safety Battalion to arrive.
“We were ill-equipped. We don’t have disposal equipment. But still we managed to solve this with utmost care,” said Senior Supt. Rodolfo Llorca.
The bomb scare turned out to be a joke but irate commuters did not think it was funny at all to be stuck for hours in traffic that extended from Pasay City to North Avenue, a distance of roughly 19 kilometers. The gridlock also entended all the way to the Nichols tollgate at grade level of the Skyway, a distance of about 8 kilometers.
One motorist Mark Jenry Eugenio, a medical representative working in Mandaluyong, posted a comment on Facebook saying it took him three-and-a-half hours to travel from his office to his home in Parañaque.
“This has never happened to me. During rush hours, it would normally take me one hour and 30 minutes if the traffic is smooth. This is too much,” Eugenio said.