Ateneo bomb scare snarls traffic, spawns ‘theories’
A bomb threat which prompted Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) officials to evacuate its Loyola Heights campus in Quezon City not only caused heavy traffic on Katipunan Avenue but on the Web as well.
Based on Twitter, Ateneo was the sixth trending tropic in the Philippines as of 3:20 p.m. Wednesday. Katipunan was eighth while ADMU was in 10th place.
Speculations and conspiracy theories were rife on social media networks with Twitter user Marga @margadeona commenting: “First thought that came to mind after hearing about the Ateneo bomb threat: ‘Midterms ba (Is it time for midterms)?’”
Rey @reypinmoko was more specific: “Pustahan tayo yung bomb threat sa Ateneo imbento lang ng estudyanteng hindi pa handa mag orals sa Philo (Anyone care to place a bet that the bomb threat at Ateneo was the work of a student who was not ready for the Philo test).”
In a statement posted before noon yesterday on its website, Ateneo president Jose Ramon Villarin announced the suspension of classes and office work starting at 12 noon due to a bomb threat.
“We advise all units on the Loyola Heights campus to execute evacuation procedures similar to fire drills. Everyone is asked to go home,” he said.
Supt. Richard Fiesta, commander of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) Anonas station, said they first received the report about a bomb threat at the school at 10 p.m.
“Three employees received a text message that bombs were allegedly set to go off in several places in the campus,” he told the Inquirer.
The message that came from just one number read: “MAY MGA BOMBA NA SASABOG SA ATENEO. PANIGURADONG MADAMING ESTUDYANTE AT EMPLEYADO ANG MAMATAY. 30 MINUTO MULA NGAYON (There are bombs that will explode in Ateneo 30 minutes from now. Many students and employees are sure to die).”
QCPD director Chief Supt. Richard Albano said that one of the recipients was from the ADMU Office of the President, another was from the Office of the Vice President for External Affairs while the third was a casual employee.
The first was sent at 9:24 a.m., the second at 9:26 a.m. and the last at 9:29 a.m.
The QCPD Explosives and Ordnance Division, backed up by National Capital Region Police Office bomb-sniffing dogs, conducted a search of 62 buildings on the 68-hectare campus and found no trace of explosives.
But by the time the all-clear was declared, traffic was hopelessly snarled on Katipunan Avenue as parents rushed to bring their children home, prompting @mrsunlawyer to tweet: “Horrendous traffic daw kasi massive sunduan ongoing.”
There was some, however, who saw humor in the situation like Niko Batallones who commented: “Bomb threat at AdMU. Makes me think of what would happen if there was one at La Salle. Walang football field! Walang evacuation area! Wah!”
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