No suspect yet in Davao carnival blast-A A +A
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
DAVAO CITY -- Police are still unable to identify the suspect who lobbed a grenade at a carnival, injuring 41 people in Paquibato District in this city on Saturday.
The police said further investigation on the grenade explosion in Barangay Fatima’s covered court, where a circus was set up as part of the village’s annual fiesta, is ongoing.
Fatima village chief Rommel Cozo dared the culprits to come out and admit the crime to restore peace and order in their area.
"Dili maayo ang ilang gihimo sa among lugar, daghan nadamay unya karon mahadlok na ang mga tao didto manggawas tungod lang sa maong panghitabo (What they did is horrible, as a lot of residents in the area were wounded and are now afraid to go out)," Cozo said.
Cozo added that because of the incident, all fiesta events for September 13 were canceled.
The village chief also said he cannot confirm yet the report saying that the suspect was a woman and that the incident was perpetrated by members of the New People's Army (NPA), as investigation of the authorities is still ongoing.
Senior Superintendent Ronald M. dela Rosa, Davao City Police Office (DCPO) director, said he ordered the Paquibato police to conduct thorough investigation on the incident, as he cannot also accuse the communist rebels without concrete evidence.
Initial investigation said the perpetrator was aiming at an army detachment but the grenade landed in the middle of a crowd at a carnival.
"We don't have any suspect yet on the crime. But it is clear that the motive is to harm the military personnel in the area. For now, we are still gathering information from the witnesses. Mahadlok man gani sila muhatag ug sworn statement kay basin daw madamay sila," Dela Rosa said.
He said that of the 41 wounded victims, nine are still undergoing treatment at the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC).
But Lieutenant Colonel Lyndon Paniza, spokesperson for the Army's 10th Infantry Division, said they are convinced that the incident was a handiwork of the NPA.
The same method of attack bears much resemblance to those committed by the NPA. The first happened last October 21, 2010 in Barangay Dalisay, Panabo City. The grenade was thrown targeting the headquarters of 69th Infantry Battalion (69IB). The second attack was on November 11, 2011 in Barangay San Roque, Panabo City targeting the Peace and Development Team of 69IB; two soldiers, one militiaman and two civilians were wounded.
The third and fourth attacks occurred in Barangay Pandaitan, Paquibato, Davao City on July 14, 2012 and on July 23, 2012.
“The perpetrators of these atrocities should be condemned and justice should be done for the innocent civilians who suffered,” said Paniza.
He said his division will provide support to the DCPO and other government agencies in their investigation on the incident.
Malacañang also condemned on Monday the grenade explosion. If proven that the attack was perpetrated by the communist rebels, the government will bring it to the negotiating table should the informal talks scheduled in Oslo, Norway, this month would push through.
"We condemn this heinous act," presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said.
"This again will be raised before the negotiating table with the CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front) should they decide to continue with the negotiations," he said.
"On the part of government, we are ready and willing and able to sit down with the members of the other panel," he added.
Government chief negotiator Alex Padilla earlier said the government is looking forward to convince the CPP-NPA-NDF to consider signing a ceasefire agreement.
Asked if the incident in Davao was slapped on the face of the government, Lacierda said, "This is not the first time it happened. It does not boost our confidence in their sincerity." (Sun.Star Davao/Jill Beltran/PIA/Sunnex)
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on September 04, 2012.