MPD director Chief Superintendent Joel Coronel presents Abel Macaraya, one of the suspects in the April 28 bomb attack in Quiapo, during a press briefi ng at the MPD headquarters yesterday.
EDD GUMBAN
Quiapo blast suspect arrested; PNP says case ‘cleared’
Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) - May 9, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine National Police (PNP) considers as a “cleared case” the blast incident in Quiapo, Manila on April 28 after one of four principal suspects was arrested over the weekend.

PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa said one of the suspects is now in police custody, while the Manila Police District (MPD) hunts for other suspects.

“We consider the first incident as a cleared case, meaning the suspects were already identified, one of them arrested and corresponding cases were filed in court. But other suspects are still at large. So it is not yet case solved,” Dela Rosa said in a press briefing yesterday.

The MPD yesterday presented to the media Abel Macaraya, 35, the suspect in the Quiapo blast.

MPD director Chief Supt. Joel Coronel said Macaraya was nabbed on Friday but the police “hid” him from the public so as not to hamper the follow-up operation.

Handcuffed and wearing a yellow detainee’s shirt, Macaraya admitted during the press conference that he was involved in the planning and execution of the bombing. He said a certain Raymond Mendoza was the one who contacted the bomb maker, an alias “Saro.” 

Macaraya also admitted that they started planning against three men – Alfredo and Alfredo Kahulugan and Ruben Galvez – after they beat up his younger brother-in-law and refused to appear at the barangay hall when they were called upon.

Mendoza, Saro and other suspects are still at large.

Dela Rosa apologized for the explosions, saying “nalusutan tayo (it slipped past us).

A homemade pipe bomb exploded near the Tower Lodging House on Quezon Boulevard in Quiapo, injuring at least 14 people. Investigators said the attack stemmed from a clash among Quiapo residents.
Dela Rosa also said the April 28 blast was not related to the two explosions in Quiapo on May 6.

The MPD said the first explosion on May 6 occurred at 5:40 p.m. at the office of Shia Imamate of the Philippines located at the corner of Elizondo and Norzagaray streets on Globo de Oro.

The second explosion occurred around 8:30 p.m. in the same vicinity. It killed two people and injured six.

‘No proof linking blast to ISIS’

Earlier, the terrorist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) said that it was behind the bombing incidents in Quiapo on April 28 and May 6.

But the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the MPD and Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada yesterday allayed fears of terrorism, saying there is no evidence to show the presence of ISIS in Metro Manila.

“That is pure propaganda and let us not dignify whatever those groups are saying. The claim of whatever group is not true,” AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said.

Coronel said there is no proof of any presence of ISIS in Metro Manila. The twin explosions in Quiapo last May 6 were not likely acts of terrorism because the bomb was intended for a specific target. 

The explosive, which was wrapped, was addressed to lawyer Nasser Abinal, an imam of the Shia Imamate of the Philippines and an employee of the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

Abinal told the MPD that the threats against him could be connected to his job as an imam. He also confirmed to the police that he received threats through social media prior to the incident.

Coronel said if the blasts on May 6 were acts of terrorism, the perpetrators would have placed the bombs in a more crowded area. 

Estrada, meanwhile, believes the series of blasts in Quiapo appear to be part of a “religious war” because “the incidents involve an imam.” 

Police officials  as targets?

But a ranking MPD official yesterday claimed that the second bomb that exploded in Quiapo last May 6 was intended for Coronel and National Capital Region Police Office chief Director Oscar Albayalde. It was not planted earlier as Coronel claimed.

Albayalde and Coronel rushed to the site an hour after the first bomb exploded to assess the situation. Another explosion rocked the area just a few meters from where they were standing.

The second blast happened right after Albayalde and Coronel finished their interviews with the media.
The source said the police suspect that the second explosion was caused by a bomb hurled from a building. “It could not have been possibly hurled from the street because there were already K-9 units present in the area.”

Coronel dismissed the claim, saying it was planted even before they arrived “as a secondary option against lawyer Abinal.”

“How could it be possible for someone to plant a bomb which would explode three hours later and just as the high ranking police officials were briefing the media?” he added. – With Jose Rodel Clapano, Rey Galupo, Michael Punongbayan, Alexis Romero, Louella Desiderio, Evelyn Macairan

 

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