Bomb scare snafu blamed on lack of equipment, inexperienced dog | Inquirer News

Bomb scare snafu blamed on lack of equipment, inexperienced dog

/ 05:49 AM October 11, 2013

An inexperienced police dog, inadequate training on the part of the responders, lack of bomb-defusing equipment and the heavy traffic in the area.

These were among the reasons cited by the police on why it took them four-and-a-half hours to determine if a backpack thrown onto the roof of a passenger bus on Wednesday did contain a bomb.

Based on comments posted on social networking sites by enraged motorists who were caught in heavy traffic for hours, if the bomb scare at the corner of Edsa’s southbound lane and F. B. Harrison Street in Pasay City was a test, the police would have gotten very low marks.


Southern Police District (SPD) director Chief Supt. Jose Erwin Villacorte also expressed his dissatisfaction on Thursday over the manner and length of time it took the Pasay police to deal with the situation.


He noted that although the police immediately arrived at the site after the bag thrown from a pedestrian overpass fell on top of a bus at 5:01 p.m., it took them nearly five hours to determine that it did not contain an improvised explosive device (IED).

“It really took a while. But there are factors and reasons why that is the case,” Villacorte said in an interview.

After the backpack was spotted, a member of the Pasay police’s Explosive Ordnance Division (EOD) got it down from the roof of the bus using a rope. A police dog which was sent in sat near the bag at least four times, supposedly indicating that it contained a bomb.

This miffed Villacorte who said that these dogs “should always be fully trained” to sniff out bombs.

It also did not help that the SPD and Pasay police did not have their own bomb equipment and had to borrow the bomb disposal basket of the Aviation Security Group (ASG) and a bomb robot from the Regional Public Safety Battalion (RPSB) of the National Capital Region Police Office.

Helpers also caught in traffic


However, they had to wait for two to three hours as the ASG and RPSB members bringing the equipment were also caught in heavy traffic. Earlier, both lanes of Edsa were closed in the area as a precaution, causing a buildup that stretched all the way to the Nichols Interchange.

When the bomb robot finally arrived, bomb experts did an X-ray examination to determine if there was a detonator and explosive inside the bag. They found none.

The ground commander, Pasay police chief Senior Supt. Rodolfo Llorca, said that disposing of the suspected bomb using a bomb basket was the safest way they could think of.

He initially thought of using a water discharge gun to neutralize the IED but Villacorte decided against it.

“We wanted to make sure that no one would be hurt,” Llorca said.

Members of the Special Weapons and Tactics team, ASG, RPSB and EOD teams from Pasay and SPD finally determined that the backpack contained mostly clothes, batteries and a wire.

The incident has forced officials of SPD and Pasay to admit that they are ill-equipped to handle bombs.

The incident, Villacorte said, was a learning experience as he noted that a bomb scare on a major thoroughfare which affected traffic in a huge part of the metropolis was entirely new to them.

This has prompted him to schedule a conference on Friday as he directed his men to review the steps taken on Wednesday night.

Several irate commuters, meanwhile, vented their frustration over the inconvenience they had to put up with for hours due to the buildup in traffic as a result of the bomb scare.

Mark Jenry Eugenio, a medical representative working in Mandaluyong City, posted a comment on Facebook saying it took him three-and-a-half hours to travel from his office to his house in Parañaque.

“This has never happened to me. During rush hour, it would normally take me one hour and 30 minutes if traffic is smooth. This is too much,” he said.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

On Twitter, Mia Lim @i_am_mia011 tweeted: “Hell traffic! Muntik na akong ma-late dahil sa bomb threat na ’yan (I was almost late because of that bomb threat)!”

TAGS: Bomb scare, Pasay, Police

© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.