Probers looking into 2 persons of interest in Lanao blasts

LANAO DEL NORTE. Police cordon the area in Barangay Maranding, Lala town, Lanao del Norte where an improvised explosive device went off around 4:50 p.m. Tuesday, February 5, 2019. (SunStar Cagayan de Oro)

THE Philippine National Police (PNP) has two persons of interest in the explosions that hit three areas in Lanao del Norte on Tuesday, February 5, a day before the second plebiscite on the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL.

The three explosions occurred Tuesday in different areas in Lanao del Norte. The first one happened around 4:30 p.m. when an improvised explosive device (IED) went off near a gasoline station in Baranagay Maranding, Lala town.

The second happened around 4:50 p.m. when an IED placed beside a dump truck that was parked in Kauswagan multi-purpose gym in Barangay Poblacion went off.

The third blast occurred around 10 p.m. in the premises of Mindanao State University, Municipal High School in Sultan Naga Dimaporo.

PNP Chief Oscar Albayalde said Wednesday, February 6, that investigation on the incidents is ongoing.

“Pwedeng (ang motive dito) ay pananakot dito sa ginagawang BOL (The motive in the blasts could be related to the BOL ratification),” he said.

PNP spokesperson Senior Superintendent Bernard Banac said the priority of the investigators is to identify the perpetrators.

Albayalde, who is now in Lanao del Norte to personally oversee security during the BOL plebiscite, said he ordered intensified checkpoints and security measures following the three explosions.

“Lumalabas na hindi dumaan sa checkpoint (ang mga suspects), so nanggaling mismo sa loob, hindi galing sa labas (The perpetrators did not pass by the checkpoint, so they came from inside the town),” he said.

As of Wednesday morning, February 6, Albayalde said the ongoing plebiscite is so far peaceful, with no recorded untoward incident.

He said according to the Commission on Elections, over 50 percent of the total number of voters have already cast their votes.

All the teachers assigned as election officers arrived in their respective areas on time, as compared to the first plebiscite where 72 teachers failed to arrive in the voting precincts, causing a delay in the voting.

The teachers assigned in the first plebiscite allegedly experienced intimidation from pro- and anti-BOL groups.

Wednesday's (February 6) plebiscite covers the towns of Baloi, Munai, Nunungan, Pantar, Tagoloan and Tangkal in Lalao del Norte; and 39 barangays in the towns of Aleosan, Carmen, Kabacan, Midsayap, Pigkawayan and Pikit in North Cotabato. (SunStar Philippines)


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