Moviegoers told: It's faulty wiring-A A +A
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
HE WAS still in shock after a loud explosion, but what made it more shocking to him was an explanation from the personnel of the mall that what caused the explosion was due to "faulty wiring."
"It was more shocking. At the time we can still smell what we thought was gunpowder from inside the cinema," gym instructor Dodgie Batu told Sun.Star in a phone interview.
"But siguro they told us its faulty wiring because they don't want us to panic," he said.
Batu was among the eight to 10 moviegoers inside Cinema 1 of SM City Davao at Ecoland in Matina who caught up with the last full show of the film "Elysium" on Monday evening.
Two improvised bombs exploded 22 minutes apart Monday night inside Cinema 1 of SM City Davao and Cinema 5 of Gaisano Mall of Davao on JP Laurel Avenue in Bajada.
Police said an explosion rocked SM cinema around 9:03 p.m. followed by another blast inside Gaisano Mall cinema around 9:25 p.m.
Authorities have yet to disclose identity of groups or individuals involved in the twin bombings as of Tuesday afternoon, but Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte told probers not to rush the investigation.
Duterte said they are taking the situation seriously but he still cannot speculate on whether the main motive of the perpetrators is terrorism, adding that, so far, it's "purely a guessing game".
"It was around 9:05 p.m. I was seated at the balcony with eight or ten more moviegoers, There's only a few of us because it was last full show," Batu narrated.
By that time, he said the featured film has yet to start and what was being shown on screen was the trailer of the film "Troy".
"Then we heard an explosion from the orchestra. It was very loud and I can feel it in my face like it blew my hair off," he said, adding that the explosion happened a few steps away from where he was seated.
"It was at the right side of the orchestra facing the screen. I saw debris flying," Batu said.
He said it took them a few seconds before they decided to move out of the cinema.
"No one panicked. But natakot kami na baka me kasunod pa so we stayed on our seats for 10-15 seconds before we calmly went out of the moviehouse," Batu said.
On their way out, he said they can still smell gunpowder.
Edronel Rivera Batistis, 25, a makeup artist who was also inside the same cinema, said he was really shocked on the incident. He said there's still fear every time he recalled what happened inside the cinema.
"Masakit sa tenga. Nasa itaas kami nakaupo when the incident happened. Talagang total shock. Thank God walang nasugatan sa amin," Batistis said in a phone interview.
Authorities on Tuesday said they are still conducting investigation of the twin explosions.
Davao City Police Office director Ronald dela Rosa, in a text message, said the security forces immediately rushed to the crime scene and advised the remaining moviegoers to vacate the area.
Sr. Supt. Dela Rosa added that no one was hurt among the 10 moviegoers inside the SM City cinema which was hit by the first explosion.
The second blast happened at Gaisano Mall cinema wherein the bomb was placed under sixth seat at the ninth row.
Dela Rosa said five moviegoers who were watching the "Intersection" were brought to San Pedro Hospital (SPH), following their complaint of a severe ear pain after the bomb blast.
The five victims were identified as Diliah Montenegro, 19; Margie Sarita Gildes, 19; Jeziel Janison, 17; Merry Apple Tacyawan, 20, all residents of Pioneer Drive; and Gian Albarico of Mintal in Davao City.
Dela Rosa said the victims are now safe and already went home after they had their checkup at the hospital.
Duterte arrived in the city via Philippine Airlines at 4 a.m. straight from Korea and called for command conference which was attended by the DCPO, Task Force Davao, Police Regional Office (PRO), and Army's 10th Infantry Division, among others.
The mayor, in a command conference at the Grand Men Seng Hotel, said the city has been receiving threats for the past few months this year. He added that they are now trying to look into the probable cause of the two bomb blast.
Duterte said they are looking at whether the incident is connected to political aspiration, or rebellion, or interest, revenge and hatred. He added that as of now he could not give exact details on who was responsible for the attack.
"There's a threat and we will take it seriously even if there's no casualty in the incident. We will minimize the effects of the blasts because it appears to be a statement, may gustong ipahiwatig ang gumawa nun," Duterte said.
When asked if the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) has something to do with the incident, Duterte said in a scale of 1 to 10, he would rate it 1. He added that he had earlier talked to MNLF chair Nur Misuari and the latter said it was not the handiwork of his group.
Davao MNLF chair Rolando T. Olamit, in a separate interview, also denied the MNLF as behind the bomb blasts, adding that it might be a "third force" who is behind the incident.
"As far as we're concern, wala sa MNLF ang may gawa ng bomb blast sa dalawang malls. Malinaw naman yung sinabi ng aming leader na Davao City will be safe from the stand-off doon sa Zamboanga," Olamit said.
Olamit said the third force may be from international terrorist group, citing an overseas call he received prior to the incident, telling him that there are other terror groups here in Mindanao.
Duterte, however, said they are not in the position to disclose anything, saying the Scene of the Crime Operative (Soco) is still conducting thorough investigation on the matter.
"We have to find out kung anong bomba ang ginamit sa pagpasabog so we would know the signature kung kanino galing. We are still assessing. Let's see what develops after their inquiry," Duterte said, adding that they cannot attribute the incident to any entities.
Duterte said the government is working 24 hours to gather evidences on the incident. He added that they will also review the closed circuit television (CCTV) camera installed at the malls.
"Ever since lumabas ang US Global Advisory naka heightened alert na ang Davao City. But you know as what I have said, we cannot cover all the establishments here. For one it is the malls responsibility to provide security inside their establishment," Duterte said.
Dela Rosa added that the city is already placed under heightened alert since the celebration of the Kadayawan sa Dabaw started.
Major General Ariel Bernardo, commander of the Army's 10th Infantry Division, on the other hand, said his command will immediately conduct a target hardening operation and investigations to identify those behind the incident.
Bernardo said he will roam around his area of responsibility to check the other areas in Mindanao and they would continuously coordinate with the police authorities in terms of the security measures.
"Hindi pwede yung heightened alert lang. We have to do some pro-active measures aside from double manning. I will be roaming around to check other areas. I also ordered the battalion commanders to maximize visibility and intensify its security measures in their area," Bernardo said.
Colonel Casiano Monilla, TFD commander, added that they would join on the investigation of the Soco and the Explosive Ordnance Division (EOD). He said they'll also conduct bomb awareness not only to hotels and other establishments but also with the force multipliers.
"Our checkpoint naman ngayon is continuing. We are optimizing the effectiveness. It is an ongoing project of the Task Force and until now marami pang improvement na kaliang gawin. But rest assured we are going to conduct more visibility in the city," Monilla said.
Duterte also added that they will file specific charges once they will identify the suspect behind the blast.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on September 18, 2013.