‘Pipe bombs used in Quiapo blasts’

The Philippine Star - - METRO - By NON ALQUITRAN – With Rey Galupo, Jose Rodel Cla­pano

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 Nor- za­garay 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.

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