PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) Chief Oscar Albayalde said Monday, January 21, that the grenade attack in the residence of Cotabato City Judge Angelito Rasalan is more likely due to “personal grudge.”
“Iniimbestigahan yan (It's being investigated). Seemingly something personal ang tinitingnan na pangyayari doon sa judge (Personal motive is being eyed). It has nothing to do with the ongoing plebiscite doon,” said Albayalde.
On the eve of the historic plebiscite on the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), two loud explosions were heard inside the compound of Rasalan in Barangay Rosary Heights in Cotabato City around 9 p.m.
Witnesses said two unidentified motorcycle riding men threw grenade in the area. No one was hurt.
Authorities found a safety lever and one pull ring of MK2 fragmentation hand-grenade in the scene.
Albayalde said they are not discounting the possibility that it could be a terror attack, but he expressed strong belief that it is not connected to the BOL plebiscite.
“Ang tinitingnan natin, of course, possible na something personal and the other thing is pwedeng parang manakot, although sabi ko nga kung mantatakot ng tao, probably sa labas dapat itinapon ito, sa public place pero ito mismo sa loob ng compound ni judge,” he said.
(It could be something personal or just to threaten the judge. However, if the purpose is just to threaten people, they could have thrown the grenade outside, but it was thrown inside the compound.)
“Tinitingnan natin. Hindi natin pwede masabing hindi rin terrorist group porke granada. Probably IED pero hindi natin dinidiscount na possiblity na member ng isang terrorist group ang gumawa nito,” he added.
(We are looking into it. We cannot also say that a terrorist group is not behind it because it was just a grenade. We are not discounting a possibility that it could also be a terror act.)
Rasalan is judge at the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Upi, Maguindanao. He is a brother of Aniceto Rasalan, executive secretary of Cotabato City Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi, an anti-BOL advocate.
Over 100,000 people will cast their vote for the ratification of BOL in Cotabato City and Isabela Monday, January 21.
Another voting will be held on February 6, covering the provinces of Lanao del Norte and North Cotabato.
Over 20,000 police and military forces were deployed to ensure security during the voting.
Albayalde said such number of forces is enough and that he sees no reason for its augmentation despite the grenade attack. (Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo/SunStar Philippines)