Cotabato Comelec office hit by blast
John Unson (The Philippine Star) - August 13, 2013 - 12:00am

NORTH COTABATO, Philippines – A grenade exploded yesterday morning near the office of Mayor Herlo Guzman Jr. and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) at the municipal building of Kabacan town.

The explosion damaged the ceiling and windows of the Comelec office.

Investigators said the 40 mm shoulder-fired grenade launcher was apparently fired from a distance and exploded behind the municipal hall.

No casualty was reported but the explosion caused panic among residents in the area.

Guzman, chairman of the municipal peace and order council, said he is certain that the suspects were targeting his office where he sleeps.

“I sleep in my office very frequently, especially when we’re on a security alert, or when there are calamities that affect our town such as floods,” Guzman told reporters.

Unidentified gunmen also fired a 40 mm grenade last Friday night that hit the roof of the house of militiaman Edwin Antolin in Kabacan town.

The explosion wounded Antolin’s son and in-laws Benjamin and Luz Ferrer. They were treated at a local clinic.

A powerful improvised explosive device (IED), fashioned from a 60 mm mortar, exploded Sunday morning in a cornfield in Barangay Baliki in Midsayap, also in North Cotabato.

Superintendent Reynante de los Santos, chief of the Midsayap police, said they are still investigating whether the IED was indeed planted in the area and set off deliberately to scare farmers, or the bomb was only kept there but exploded prematurely.

Five days earlier, unidentified suspects had exploded a powerful IED near the entrance of money remittance firm M. Lhuillier along a busy street in Midsayap.

IEDs deactivated

Members of the Army and police bomb disposal teams have deactivated three IEDs that were found last Sunday by scavengers at a garbage dump in Cotabato City.

Investigators said the IEDs, two of them made from a 60 mm mortar round, and another fashioned from a more powerful 81 mm mortar round, were found inside a sack.

Cotabato City police chief Senior Superintendent Rolen Balquin said they are now determining who left the explosives in the city’s Malagapas garbage dump in Barangay Rosary Heights 10.

“We have to establish yet if the explosives were kept there, to be used for more bombings in the city, or were intended to be exploded right there in the spot where they were found,” Balquin said.

The discovery of more IEDs came in the wake of the car bomb that was exploded last Aug. 5 along busy Sinsuat Avenue in Cotabato City that killed eight people and injured more than 30 others.

The bomb exploded just as a convoy led by Cotabato City administrator Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi was passing by. Sayadi survived the blast with only a superficial wound, but her two motorcycle-riding security escorts were killed.


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