Lack of equipment delays probe into Oro bombing-A A +A
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
LOCAL government authorities blamed Tuesday the unavailability of equipment that would identify the three suspects responsible for planting the two bombs near a hotel in Cagayan de Oro last week.
Top officials of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) Northern Mindanao expressed their incapacity to further identify the three suspects responsible for the two bombs, one of which went off, killing two innocent civilians and wounding two responding policemen on Thursday last week near Maxandrea Hotel in J.R. Borja St.
NBI Regional Director Jose D. Doloiras and PNP Regional Director Gil J. Hitosis, along with Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (Cocpo) chief Gerardo Rosales, appeared at the City Council session on Tuesday to shed light on the bombing incident.
Doloiras said the local NBI office is not equipped with modern facilities such as forensic video and image enhancement technology, a tool that he said would somehow clearly identify the three suspects who were captured by the closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera of the hotel.
He said the image captured by the CCTV is not clear and needs an enhancer to fully identify the suspects in clear picture.
The hotel’s CCTV showed that the three suspects left the cellophane with the first bomb, an explosive improvised device (EID), beside the hotel.
The second bomb was later discovered around 7:30 a.m. under the vehicle of local television network GMA. It was successfully detonated by composite team from the police bomb squad and the Philippine Army 4th Infantry Division's explosive and ordnance division.
Doloiras said they already called up the NBI national office in Manila and asked that they be provided with experts who can identify the suspects through the CCTV camera.
“But the personnel failed to come due to some reasons,” he said.
Even with this, Hitosis said they already have a lead on the identity of the suspects.
He refused, however, to provide further information so as not to hamper the ongoing investigation.
“What we need now is the clear view of the suspects to validate our lead,” Hitosis said.
Earlier, Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Vicente Emano said the bombing is not the handiwork of terrorists.
Emano said the bomb exploded at a time and place that terrorists do not normally choose.
“Even in other parts of the country, bombing by terrorists will not happen during dawn,” he said.
However, City Councilor Edgar Cabanlas said the bombing incident is considered a terrorist attack.
Cabanlas said the suspects really intend to kill civilians after sharp nails were recovered in the second bomb that was detonated.
“If the suspects’ intention is just to scare or convey a message to Emano, then how come they put objects that can hurt people?” he said.
Cabanlas said even if the incident happened at dawn and nobody is around, it is still considered the handiwork of a terrorist.
During Tuesday’s session, Cabanlas questioned the “manner of intelligence network” of the NBI, PNP and Cocpo as he expressed concern that the bombing incident would somehow scare away possible investors or tourists.
“Is there a way that we could at least be warned in the future that bomb threats will happen again in the city?” Cabanlas asked.
He said that based on reports, Cagayan de Oro has P60 million annual intelligence fund.
Cabanlas posed a query if where did this fund go.
Rosales admitted Cocpo has not been given “any amount” from the intelligence fund, which can help them solve crimes in the city.
“We don’t receive any cash, only supplies, gasoline and materials to maintain peace and order of the city,” he said.
But City Councilor Ian Mark Nacaya was quick to reply that they cannot question Emano, being the chief executive, “how he handles his intelligence network and how he uses the intelligence funds.”
“Mayor Emano has an intelligence network that has shielded the people against harm all these years under his administration,” Nacaya said. He failed to elaborate further.
Meanwhile, City Councilor Roger Abaday proposed it is high time for the City Government to buy its own modern facilities needed to solve crimes such as bombing.
Abaday said the purchase of this equipment should be prioritized, citing Cagayan de Oro is now “vulnerable to bomb threats.”
“The recent bombing incident would serve as an eye opener to local authorities to always be cautious and prepared to prevent another incident such as this,” he said.
At the end of the session, the City Council unanimously approved a resolution authored by Nacaya, urging the National Government through the Office of the President to provide all NBI regional offices with forensic video and image enhancement technology.
Nacaya said this is to help facilitate and speed up any investigation.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on October 17, 2012.