PNP PROBES CORDOVA BLAST
Police authorities assured no terror group has entered Cebu
Police authorities yesterday assured the public that there was no report of the presence of any terrorist group in Cebu in the wake of the explosion of an improvised bomb inside a rented house in Cordova town on Mactan Island on Friday that seriously injured the suspected bomb maker.
However, the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7) said it was not going to let its guard down as police units in Cordova, Cebu province and the region continue to look into the background of the alleged bomb maker and the “suspicious” going on inside his rented house days before the blast occurred.
Chief Supt. Debold Sinas, PRO-7 director, said they will conduct a thorough background check on Alejandro Novo Pil, 33, who was severely injured when the improvised explosive device (IED) he was allegedly making exploded in his rented house in Sitio Datag, Barangay Buagsong, Cordova at past 5 p.m. on Friday.
“This is an isolated case. Hopefully dili maka apekto sa (this won’t affect the) community … this is not related to terrorists,” said Sinas.
But Sinas said they were not disregarding the possibility that it has something to do with the suspect wanting to inflict terror in Cebu after investigators found out that prior to the incident, Pil had “suspicious” visitors.
Sinas said that according to Pil’s live-in partner Janica Sotto, 23, there were men who kept on coming to their house.
Sinas said that Sotto told the police that she did not know where the bomb would be used and what was really the work of her live-in partner.
“Estorya sa live-in partner may duha o tulo ang nibista daw sa ilaha. Unya sa iyang estorya kon mo bisita daw pasudlon ra siya sa kwarto,” Sinas said.
(According to the live-in partner, two or three men have visited their house. She said that whenever they have visitors, she was asked to stay inside their bedroom.)
This was also the observation of the couple’s neighbors, especially their landlady, Susana Sayson.
In an interview with Cebu Daily News, Sayson said they noticed men on a motorcycle visiting Pil and Sotto.
“Nagtoo mi nga iyaha tong mga igsoon (We presumed those were Pil’s brothers),” Sayson said.
Sayson said that she was not familiar with Pil and Sotto since they rented the place only three months ago.
Both Pil and Sotto also rarely talked to them or even went out of their rented place, she added.
“Una nilang anhi Tagalog na sila, kanang laki. Pero kadugayan magbisaya na man. Dili na sila halos mogawas sa ilaha; kana rang mopalit ug mga dinalian sama sa mga shampoo. Kana ra g’yud,” Sayson said.
(When they first came here they were speaking in Tagalog, especially the man. But later on they were speaking in Bisaya. They rarely went out of their house except those times that they needed to buy things like shampoo)
Sinas said Pil would be subjected to a thorough background check, as they needed to find out the motive and reason why Pil was making an IED.
Members of Explosives Ordnance Disposal (EOD) unit from PRO-7 assured that there was no other IED in the crime scene except for the one that exploded.
Pil accidentally injured himself while making an improvised bomb in Sitio Datag, Barangay Buagsung, Cordova town at dusk on Friday, June 8.
The incident happened a day after President Rodrigo Duterte was on the island to grace the opening of the new world-class terminal of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA).
Pil was in the process of making the IED when it exploded, hitting him in the different parts of his body, the face and right hand, according to a report released by the Cordova police.
Following the blast, police recovered from his rented house a caliber .45 pistol loaded with six bullets, a caliber .357 revolver loaded with four bullets, and a caliber .50 bullet; and three transparent plastic bags each containing half a kilo of ammonium nitrate, and one-fourth kilo of nails that police said were used to make the IED.
Pil is now undergoing treatment at a government hospital in Cebu City and is under the custody of the police.
Pil required surgeries but once he has recuperated, he would face charges for illegal possession of firearms, ammunition and explosives, Sinas said.
Meanwhile, the Armed Forces of the Philippines Central Command (Centcom) would be closely monitoring the progress of the police investigation, said Centcom spokesperson Col. Medel Aguilar.
“We also get the information from the PNP (Philippine National Police) that Pil has a problem. That is why he did the thing he did,” said Aguilar.
Like the police, Aguilar assured that the public has no reason to be alarmed as there has been no report of a terrorist group or personalities having entered Central Visayas, particularly Cebu.
But he said the Military Intelligence Group (MIG) would also look into the background of Pil in support of the police probe. /WITH CORRESPONDENTS BENJIE TALISIC AND NORMAN V. MENDOZA
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