‘Pipe bombs used in Quiapo blasts’
Non Alquitran (The Philippine Star) - May 10, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines -  The bombs used in the twin attacks in Quiapo, Manila that left two people dead and six others wounded were similarly built but contained low explosive component, a police official said yesterday.

“The suspects used pipe bombs and were command detonated,” National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Director Oscar Albayalde said based on the initial findings of the Manila Police District (MPD) explosive and ordnance division.

According to Albayalde, the bombs were intended for lawyer Nasser Abinal, district officer of the Bureau of Internal Revenue in Intramuros, Manila.

The NCRPO official denied the claim of the terrorist group Islamic State that it was responsible for the explosions.

“Abinal has been receiving death threats and we are investigating if these are related to his job as a tax officer or his being an Imam,” Albayalde said.

Albayalde said the first bomb, which exploded at 5:40 p.m. on May 6 at the office of Shia Imamate of the Philippines located at the corner of Elizondo and Norzagaray streets on Globo de Oro, was attached to a rice cooker and used bearings as shrapnel.

“We recovered parts of a rice cooker in the area,” he said.

The second bomb that went off at past 8 p.m. was similar to a pipe bomb but contained low explosives, he said.

Authorities said they were checking whether the explosives used in the April 28 and May 6 bombings in Quiapo were made by the same person.

An improvised explosive device went off near the Tower Lodging House along Quezon Boulevard last month, leaving 14 people wounded.

“It was a pipe bomb attached to a galvanized iron sheet,” Albayalde said.

‘Not a terror attack’

The Quiapo blasts were not the handiwork of any terror group, Albayalde reiterated.

“Based on the evidence we gathered, it was a peace and order concern and not a terror attack,” he said.

Albayalde made the statement after Rohan Gunaratna, head of the International Center for Political Violence and Terrorism Research, said the bombings could be part of test runs by IS for wider attacks during Ramadan.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) said the explosions that rocked Quiapo in a span of two weeks could not be considered acts of terror.

The PNP, however, did not rule out the possibility that the bombs used may have been acquired from a local terrorist group in Mindanao.

Bombers’ hideouts

Police investigators are monitoring possible hideouts of the Quiapo bombers in the northern part of Metro Manila and Quezon City.

“We are following up leads and evidence we gathered during the investigation. But the PNP leadership will not divulge such classified information. We are working on it,” the source told The STAR.

Northern Police District director Chief Superintendent Roberto Fajardo called on Muslim leaders in Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas and Valenzuela (Camanava) to monitor their ranks to defuse tension that may arise from the Quiapo bombings, which they said was a conflict between Islamic sects.

More than 20 Muslim leaders from Camanava attended the meeting with the NPD officials.

Erap condoles

Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada condoled with the families of the two victims who died in the explosions.

Estrada assured the families of Mohamad Bainga and a delivery boy of Grab Express that the perpetrators of the blasts would be captured.

The mayor ordered Nanet Tanyag, head of the Manila Department of Social Welfare, to provide assistance to the wounded victims.

Reports said that seven of the 14 victims of the first explosion on April 28 are still in the hospital. 

Rolando Gubat, 45, a construction worker, lost one of his legs during the explosion.           He remains confined at the Philippine General Hospital.  – With Rey Galupo, Jose Rodel Clapano

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