Senate panel to roll out probe on series of blasts in Mindanao

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A SENATE panel is set to start its inquiry on Wednesday on the series of bombings in Mindanao that killed a total of 14 people.

The investigation, headed by the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, will focus on the intelligence and evidence gathering before and after the bombings of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

According to Sen. Grace Poe, chairman of the committee, she wanted to know if there were flaws in the gathering of  evidence by police personnel after the bombing.

“I need to investigate among other things, if there were lapses or breach in security measures, ” she added.

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Right after the explosion at the Limketkai shopping complex, Cagayan de Oro police allowed mall employees to clean the blast site.

The lady senator proposes that gathering evidence by the police personnel should be standardized.

Among those invited by the panel were Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd, Philippine National Police Chief Dir. Gen. Alan Purisima, and Alfonso Lim, President and CEO of Limketkai Center where the blast happened last July 26.

Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno and Chief Superintendent Graciano Mijares, the city’s police director, were also asked to attend the probe.

Poe also said that she will be also inquiring if the PNP’s intelligence funds are properly utilized adding that it will also tackle if there are sufficient laws against terrorists and criminal elements in the country.

The congressional inquiry was prompted by the call of Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel 3rd, who hails from Mindanao, delivered a privilege speech demanding the swift identification and prosecution of the “masterminds” of the blast in Cagayan de Oro.

But Poe said since PNP officials will be attending the probe, she will also include the recent bombing in Cotabato City, the second bombing to hit Mindanao in 10 days.

She likewise condemned the latest explosion describing it as an “act of lawlessness that not only distressed the victims’ families but also sowed fear among our countrymen who are going about their daily lives.”

“Those responsible should be held accountable for their actions. We also enjoin the citizens to be vigilant and help report leads to the case,” she added.

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