Suspect in April 28 Quiapo blast nabbed

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MANILA police on Monday presented to the media a suspect in the April 28 bombing in Quiapo, Manila that left 14 people injured.

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The suspect, Abel Macaraya, will be charged with multiple frustrated murder and illegal possession of explosives.

The bombing was said to have been in revenge for the mauling of Macaraya’s teenaged brother-in-law by workers of a fairground on Quezon Boulevard and Soler Street Extension.

Macaraya is one of five “persons of interest” determined by the Manila police to be involved in the blast.

The bombing happened while regional leaders gathered for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit in Manila.

Eyewitnesses claimed Macaraya placed a package near the blast site. Closed-circuit television footage confirmed the accounts.

Police presented a computerized sketch of another suspect, Raymond Mendoza, said to be a friend of Macaraya. Authorities are also looking for a man named “Ali Moro.”

Those involved in the mauling of Macaraya’s relative, a 14-year-old child, will go through inquest proceedings and will face charges for violating Republic Act 7610 or the Child Abuse Law.

Manila Police Director chief Joel Coronel reiterated that the bombing was not the handiwork of terrorists.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Director General Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa, told reporters the bomb had “weak ingredients,” like that of the “Super Lolo” firecracker.

He said a gang war was behind it and declared the case closed.

May 6 blasts

The May 6 blasts also in Quiapo, meanwhile, are also not acts of terror, said de la Rosa.

Two persons died while six others were injured in the blasts, which occurred three hours apart, at the corner of Norzagaray and Elizondo Streets in Quiapo district.

Metro Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde said the bomb was intended for Nasser Abinal, a Muslim cleric whose office was rocked by the blasts.

“We see this as something personal,” de la Rosa told reporters.

The PNP chief clarified that such bomb incidents are not a priority of intelligence operatives.

“Our intelligence groups are focused on threat groups like the NPA (New People’s Army). The PNP’s intelligence group does not cover the personal grudge of any persons, this is not their priority,” he said.

The blast near the Manila Golden Mosque in Quiapo killed a GrabExpress delivery boy who unknowingly carried the explosive, and the man who received the package, Mohamad Bainga.

The Quiapo blasts forced telecommunications companies to block signals in the area to forestall more blasts.
De la Rosa apologized to some lawmakers such as Senate President Aquilino Pimentel 3rd and Rep. Lito Atienza of Buhay party-list for the bombing incidents.

“We are sorry for that. We will not be making any excuses and we accept our mistakes. We were bombed and again, we are sorry for that. We in the PNP, we stick to the facts that we have investigated and we stand by our claim that the [weekend]bombings were isolated cases and were not connected with last month’s incident,” he said.

De la Rosa also said he saw no reason for Albayalde and Coronel to be relieved from their posts, but urged the two to work harder to prevent such incidents from happening again.

Albayalde said a suspect in the May 6 blasts had been identified, but he declined to go into details.

with DEMPSEY REYES

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