Lobregat condemns Pension House blast PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 29 November 2011 17:03

Mayor Celso Lobregat yesterday condemned in strongest terms possible the bomb explosion Sunday night at the Atilano’s Pension House in Canelar, this city that left 3 people dead and 27 others injured, saying the despicable act was done by people with no conscience.

“Now we are heading towards the Christmas season and there are people who really want to make lives of all residents of this city miserable,” Lobregat told city government officials and employees during the flag-raising ceremony           yesterday morning.

“Let us not allow the perpetrators to control our lives. All these have been done to disrupt our very lives in the city. Let us remain strong and united,” he said even as he vowed “we will get through this and I am sure we will be able to identify the perpetrators.”

As this developed, the chief executive yesterday convened the City Peace and Order Council (CPOC) members in City Hall during which he identified the fatalities as Fidel Aguias of Pagadian City, Roel Barcelona, 51, of Basilan, and a certain Maris of yet unknown address.

He said 27 people mostly were to attend a relative’s wedding today were injured in the explosion. Of the number, 10 are still confined in the different local hospitals, 2 are in the intensive care unit and all the others had already been discharged from the hospitals after undergoing treatment of their injuries.

Lobregat said most of the victims or guests of the pension house had been accounted for. In fact, some of them, especially those who were not injured, were taken to City Hall after the explosion.

However, he said some of the guests who occupied the pension house’s ground floor rooms – 220, 228, 229, 232, 235, 236 and 241, blue room, green room, white room and yellow room—remained unaccounted for as of yesterday. “And we are asking them to report to us their whereabouts and condition,” the mayor said.

Citing police report, Lobregat said the improvised explosive device (IED) could have been planted and exploded somewhere in Room 226 or in the nearby comfort room on the second floor of the pension house as the floor of Room 226 had collapsed and buried Room 243 bellow, where one of the fatalities (Aguias) had been billeted.

Meanwhile, police authorities are in search for an unidentified man and woman, who checked in Room 222 around 7 p.m. but they hurriedly left the pension house around 8 p.m. or shortly before the explosion. The police suspected the man-and-woman tandem as responsible for the explosion.  

Meanwhile, the Directorate for Integrated Police Operations (DIPO) Chief Director Felicisimo Khu Jr. cited strong indications that the latest bomb explosion to rock Zamboanga City was perpetrated by what he termed as Basilan-based Abu Sayyaf Group.

He said the explosive materials found at the pension house were similar to those used in the recent bombing incidents in Basilan, except that the one here was mixed with fuel that triggered an incendiary. The fire caused about P100,000 damage to properties.

“Whether or not the explosion occurred during the Week of Peace or advent of the Christmas season, the fact is it was a despicable act, regardless of season. We are appalled. Let us not give the perpetrators the moral victory. Let us live normal lives,” Lobregat told a press briefing after the CPOC meeting.

Also present during the CPOC meeting and subsequent press briefing at City Hall yesterday were Councilors Jaime Cabato, Abdurahman Nuno and Nonong Guingona; Regional Police Director Gen. Elpidio de Asis, City Police OIC Director Col. Edwin de Ocampo and several others. — Vic Larato