Teacher linked to bomb scare says she is innocent

By: Ador Vincent Mayol, Agnes Alpuerto, Inna Gian Mejia July 19,2017 - 10:54 PM

New bomb scare forces class suspension in Barangay Mambaling, Cebu City


“GET the real culprit.”

The public high school teacher whose cellular phone was used in a series of hoax bomb threats in Cebu City schools last Tuesday appealed to authorities to spare her and to instead focus on identifying the person behind the bomb scare.

Karen Mae Calautit, a public high school teacher based in Ilagan City, Isabela province, who also happens to be the wife of a policeman, has surfaced at her place’s police station late afternoon on Tuesday to clear her name amid her alleged involvement in the controversy.

“I am innocent. Hindi po akong masamang tao, at nananahimik lamang. Ang layo ng Cebu at sobrang busy ko po para sa mga ganyang bagay (I am not a bad person. I am living peacefully. Cebu is far from our hometown, and I am so busy for those things),” she told Cebu Daily News over the phone.

“God knows I can’t do that,” she added.
The Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) is coordinating with the Philippine National Police’s Anti-Cybercrime Group to identify the real culprit.


Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña on Wednesday said he will give a reward to any person who can give an information about people who make prank calls and spread false news.

The amount of the reward, he said, will depend on the information relayed to authorities.

Osmeña said the reward will be charged to the city’s intelligence fund or his discretionary fund. Other details of the reward system are yet to be discussed.

“I am offering a reward to anyone who will promote such things, whether it is a bomb scare or fake news,” Osmeña said in a press conference on Wednesday.

He hoped the reward system will help counter prank calls and the spread of false news.

“It will help us find out who is responsible for something bad that happens,” Osmeña said.

Another bomb scare

Just as the mayor announced his plans, a netizen who went by the name “Diana dela Cruz” posted on Facebook regarding the alleged presence of explosives at the Mambaling Elementary and National High School in Cebu City at around 11 a.m. yesterday.

Her post read: “Hi Mam & Sir, BANTAY2 LANG MO BASIN MO BUTO NA ANG BOMBA AMONG GI BUTANG DIHA SA ESKUYLAHAN NINYU…DAGHAN MGA MATAY LAGI…naay bomba diha sa eskuylahan ninyu bantay2 lang… I.S maute group.”

(Hi, ma’am and sir. Be careful because the bomb we placed in your school might explode anytime. Many people will die. There is really a bomb in your school. Be vigilant. IS–Maute Group).

Dela Cruz deactivated her Facebook account about four hours later.

On Tuesday, one of the students of the Mambaling Elementary and National High School also received a text message from a certain Diana dela Cruz and warned them about the presence of a bomb inside their school.

The public school in Mambaling was also among at least seven schools that received a bomb scare on Tuesday.

The other schools were Zapatera, Mabolo, Lahug, Labangon, Gothong High School and City Central School — all in Cebu City; and the Comprehensive National High School in Mandaue City.

Parents panicked and classes were disrupted due to the threats.

The incident led to the suspension of classes in all 58 public elementary schools and 54 high schools in Cebu City.

Classed resumed on Wednesday, but officials of the Mambaling Elementary and High School again had to cancel all their classes in the afternoon as a precautionary measure after reading Dela Cruz’s post on Facebook.

Cebu City Councilor Dave Tumulak, deputy mayor on police matters, said an investigation is being conducted to trace the real identity of the culprit.

“We are asking the public to help us identify the source of the threats,” Tumulak said.

He said there is a possibility that the false bomb hoax was just made by one of the students of the Mambaling public school who may have used the name “Diana dela Cruz.”

SPO4 Jelson Solibio of the Mambaling Police Station said they and members of the Special Weapons and Tactics rushed to the school to make sure all its students and teachers were safe.

After inspecting all classrooms and other corners of the school, the police operatives did not find any explosive.

“As it was last Tuesday, the report was a hoax,” he said.


Senior Supt. Joel Doria, director of the CCPO, said they already tapped the services of the Anti-Cybercrime Group to identify the culprits.

For last Tuesday’s incident, Doria said they have coordinated with their counterparts in Ilagan, Isabela, where the owner of the cellular phone used in making the bomb hoax was based.

The series of bomb threats started at the DepEd-Cebu City Division building along Imus Road.

It was Rhea Fe Sarmiento, secretary of DepEd–Cebu City Division Superintendent Bianito Dagatan, who received a phone call from a man at 8:39 a.m., threatening that a bomb was planted in the building.

Based on the caller ID, the cell phone number of the caller was 09351080039.

When the number was entered on Facebook, it was traced to a certain Calautit.

“From what we learned, the owner of the cell phone is from Ilagan, Isabela. But the owner said she lost the phone two months ago. Now, we will investigate to find out why the series of bomb threats were made in Cebu, who’s the person behind the threats and why did he target schools,” Doria said.

Doria said he instructed the Police Community Relations Office to coordinate with school officials to review their security measures.

“The police will conduct some sort of a refresher to teach school officials and the parents on what to do in case similar cases happen again,” said Doria.


Calautit said she was surprised when her husband, a policeman assigned at the Police Regional Office in Cagayan Valley, called her while she was in the middle of a class on Tuesday.

“He told me that my cell phone number was used in a series of bomb hoax in Cebu City. I was really shocked. I can’t help but cry,” she said.

Calautit, 27, immediately went to the police station to clear her name.

She said she lost her cell phone about two months ago.

“It was raining hard at that time. While riding a motorcycle, I did not notice that my phone, which I placed on my pocket, fell down. It was only when I went home that I noticed that it was missing,” Calautit said.

She said she was not able to report the matter to the police.

Calautit, a teacher for six years now, said the person behind the bomb hoax in Cebu City should be arrested.

“I hope the real culprit will be identified and placed behind bars,” the mother of a nine-month-old boy said.


Tumulak, meanwhile, warned they would go after any person involved or have plans of causing panic by creating bomb scares through any medium.

“Naa tay balaod ana. Kung kinsa tong mga magbinoang og tawag o magpakatag og mga threats, liable gyud na sila sa balaod. Mapasakaon sila og kaso ug mapriso sila (We have a law. Whoever makes a prank call or spreads threats is liable to the law. They will face charges and will be jailed),” Tumulak said.

Under Presidential Decree 1727, any person who maliciously disseminates false information or willfully makes threats concerning bombs, explosives or any similar device shall be punished with imprisonment of not more than five years or a fine of not more than P40,000.

To avert any bomb attempt, Tumulak called on school officials to implement strict security measures.

“Let us be vigilant. We should not be complacent,” he said.

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