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Roxas: Only 3 dead, 5 wounded in Taguig blast

Debris litter the street around two vehicles after an explosion ripped through Serendra Condominium, visible in background, in a busy, upscale district of Taguig city, east of Manila, Philippines, Friday, May 31, 2013. A loud explosion ripped through an apartment in a busy, upscale district of the Philippine capital on Friday night, and a radio report said at least three people were killed by falling debris that hit a passing delivery van. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)  

MANILA, Philippines - Interior Secretary Mar Roxas confirmed that only three persons were killed and five were injured in Friday night's Two Serenda blast that rocked the Bonifacio Global City (BGC) in Taguig last Friday.

The Office of the Civil Defense, meanwhile, apologized for releasing wrong information on the number of fatalities from the condo blast. It earlier said that six people died in the explosion.

The fatalities were identified as Salimar Natividad, driver of the Abenson delivery van along with two crew members Jeffrey Umali and Marlon Bandiola.

"Malas talaga sila. Tumatakbo ang sasakyan nila at tinamaan ng slab ng semento," Roxas said.

The victims' closed van was crushed by a concrete wall that was blown off the Unit 501 of Two Serendra as they were passing by McKinley Parkway road. It then collided with a Starex van driven by Orlando Agravante, who was unhurt.

The explosion which happened at about 8 p.m. also injured Angelito San Juan, tenant of unit 501 of Two Serendra, who suffered burns. He was brought to the the intensive care unit of the St. Luke's hospital in BGC.

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The other injured victims were identified as Allen Poole, an American and tenant of unit 683 who suffered cuts from shattered glass, and three passersby identified as Louise Lorenzo, a 9-year-old girl; Janice Nicole Bonjoc; and 19-year-old Joy Garcia.

Although bomb sniffing dogs from the police and the Philippine Army did not detect any bomb residues from Unit 501, Roxas said they are not ruling out a possible bomb attack.

Roxas said that the K9 dogs deployed never even barked nor stayed in a spot.

He said that based on investigations, the explosion generated a fire that traveled between the floor levels of the condominium building. A used fire extinguisher was earlier found at unit 506.

"Sa unit 506, may used fire extinguisher pero di pa masabi ang timeline kung nagamit ito before the explosion or nagamit after the explosion dahil kumalat yung apoy sa 506," he said. "Sa unit 306, one floor below, kasi walang fourth floor ito, ay may indications ng burn marks. Inaaral kung umakyat ang apoy o bumaba ang apoy."

Roxas also did not discount the possibility that the explosion was triggered by a gas leak.

"Dapat alamin kung ano talaga ang nangyari dito. Gagamitin ang siyensya at lahat ng ahensya ng pamahalaan. Pati yung sa army explosives. Talagang malalaman talaga natin kung ano talaga ang nagyari dito nang sa gayon ay makagawa tayo ng sapat na hakbang at di na maulit ito," he said.

Tony Aquino, president of Ayala Land which built Two Serendra, said that a gas leak check was performed at the condominium last May 28. - with Dennis Carcamo

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