COTABATO CITY, Maguindanao: Police have yet to identify the suspects and motive behind the car explosion in Tacurong City Tuesday afternoon just minutes after the convoy of Rep. Leni Robredo passed, leaving her unhurt.
The explosion, however, injured three persons, including a three-year-old boy.
Supt. Ranie Hachuela, chief of Tacurong City police, identified the wounded as Freddie Tumindig, 42, Nicole Fobar, 19, and three-year-old Patrick Pepito. They all sustained shrapnel wounds in their bodies.
Hachuela said investigators are still gathering information on the incident from people in the area where the improvised explosive device (IED) went off.
The Army-led anti-crime Task Force Talakudung, based in Tacurong City, said the IED used in the attack was planted under a black Toyota car parked in front of La Forteza Pharmacy along Jose Abad Santos Street.
The IED, patterned after explosive charges packed with nails and fragments of cast iron with jagged edges, was set off from a distance using a mobile phone.
Meanwhile, Muslims, Christians and highlanders in Sultan Kudarat expressed disappointment over reports insinuating that the Tuesday IED explosion was meant for Liberal Party vice presidential candidate Robredo.
John Felix Miciano Unson, a peace advocate and former chairman of National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) of Cotabato City, rejected such insinuations, saying the fact that Robredo was in Tacurong City on Tuesday before the 2:00 pm explosion does not mean she could be the target of the Tacurong IED attack.
He said the IED was placed underneath a car parked along a road far from the city’s main and busy streets. In fact, he added, the police classified the IED strength as “low level.”
Melvyn Aradanas, a staff of the Regional Legislative Assembly (RLA) of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) also said it was mere speculation that Robredo was the target of the IED attack.
He said Robredo was already having lunch in Cotabato City with ARMM Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman and some Bangsamoro women leaders at the ARMM Governor’s official residence when the IED went off in Tacurong.