Commotion mars bar exams after party popper is mistaken for grenade
MANILA, Philippines — A minor commotion marred the last day of the bar exams after a base of a used party popper, that was abandoned in front of University of Santo Tomas, was mistaken for a grenade Sunday afternoon.
Inspector Arnold Santos, chief of Manila Police District’s explosive and ordnance division, said some of the 10,000 that gathered to mark the last day of the examination for aspiring lawyers panicked and ran away after someone said “granada, granada.”
Some of the railings that marked the boundary between the crowd and the gate of the UST along España Avenue were felled as the people scampered away.
Superintendent Lannan Muarip, head of the MPD Sampaloc station, said it happened about 5:40 p.m. There was no explosion at all as none of the party poppers went off.
“Someone just panicked after seeing the base of a partypopper but that person has yet to be identified,” Muarip said.
In 2010, an MK2 fragmentation grenade, lobbed by Anthony Nepomuceno of the Alpha Phi Omega fraternity, exploded on Taft Avenue on the last day of Bar exams in De La Salle University that year.
Around 50 people were hurt including two law students, whose legs were amputated. One of them, Raissa Laurel, was a bar taker this year.
Santos said they saw the base after the site was cleared.
At first sight, Santos knew it was part of a party popper. He said a lot people would often call their office to report a grenade-looking object in the trash bins. But every time, these would end up as false alarm. To be sure, however, a bomb-sniffing dog was deployed to the site.
“It’s a black plastic that really looks like a grenade,” said Santos.
Muarip said only one elderly man was sent to the hospital. He was not hurt but suffered from high blood pressure and asthma attack.
The situation was controlled after five to 10 minutes, with the crowd returning to their revelries for the Bar takers. SFM
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