Pursuing bomb hoax caller: CIDG Cybercrime unit tapped

Cebu City police: We don't have the expertise to catch bomb hoax caller

By: Pegeen Maisie M. Sararana and Paul Lauro - Multimedia Reporter and Multimedia Correspondent - CDN Digital | September 13,2021 - 07:44 PM
BOMB HOAX. Personnel working at the Capitol's legislative building are asked to evacuate the area following the bomb threat received by the staff worker of the Office of the Vice Governor on Monday noon, September 13. The threat turned to be a bomb hoax of a prank caller. | Paul Lauro

BOMB HOAX. Personnel working at the Capitol’s legislative building are asked to evacuate the area following the bomb threat received by the staff worker of the Office of the Vice Governor on Monday noon, September 13. The threat turned to be a bomb hoax of a prank caller. | Paul Lauro

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The number of the bomb hoax caller is already out of reach prompting police to submit it to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG Cybercrime) for their assistance.

Police Major Armando Labora, chief of Abellana Police Station, admitted that they did not have the expertise to trace the caller, especially that the number used could no longer be reached now.

However, he assured that operatives had continued to locate the person behind the prank call as this was a serious incident where the safety and security of the public were at risk.

Labora reiterated that a bomb threat was punishable by law, whoever would be proven to have committed it could be charged with alarm and scandal, and grave threat.

With this, Labora appealed to those, who planned to make prank calls about bombs to stop this and be sensitive enough to the public.

Labora said that the prank might cause panic to affected individuals and even put their lives at risk  especially that the threat of COVID-19 was still here.

At past 11:00 a.m. today, September 13, a certain Entoy, a staff of the Vice Governor’s Office received a call from a woman. Entoy asked that his full name not be divulged for safety purposes.

Narrating the incident, Entoy said that when he answered the first call, the woman immediately dropped the call.

One minute later, the same woman called again and informed him that there was a bomb in the legislative building and she wanted the building evacuated in 2o minutes.

“Sir, palihog ko ug pa evacuate sa legislative building kay naay bomba mubuto in 20 minutes,” Entoy relayed what the woman told him.

( Sir, please let the employees evacuate the legislative building because there is a bomb that will explode in 20 minutes.)

Police Senior Master Sergeant Lidio Libres of the Abellana Police Station said that Entoy immediately reported the bomb threat to the security officer of the building, and the latter asked assistance from the police and the city’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal team.

Neil Sanchez, head of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, said that when the staff was ordered to evacuate, one employee hyperventilated because of the incident.

Sanchez said that it was not specified from the call which specific offices the bomb was allegedly placed in.

Sanchez said that regardless if the call was a prank or not, they would take this seriously since this concerned the safety of the public.

The legislative building houses the offices of the Vice Governor, Provincial Board Members, the Cebu provincial offices of the Commission on Elections in Cebu (Comelec -Cebu), Commission on Audit (COA-Cebu), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).

For his part, Joel Taboada, team leader of the responding EOD, said that they were not able to locate any bomb from the building.

“Di mi musulti’g clear pero wala mi nakit-an sa pag check namo,”  Taboada said.

(We will not conclude that it is already cleared but we can only say we did not find any when we checked it.)

It was nearly 1:00 p.m. when Vice Governor Hilario “Junjun” Davide III decided to let the staff go back to work following the assessment of the EOD.

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/dbs

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TAGS: bomb scare, Capitol, Legislative Building, Vice Governor Hilario Davide III

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