PNP sets probe into Maguindanao blast

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 25) — The nation's top cop has ordered an investigation into all possible angles in the grenade blast in Maguindanao on Saturday, Oct. 23.

Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief PGEN. Guillermo Eleazar said the explosion happened just as the convoy of some 20 to 30 vehicles led by Maguindanao Rep. Esmael "Toto" Mangudadatu passed in the vicinity.

Initial investigation showed a hand grenade was thrown near a Philippine Army detachment in Guindulungan town.

"Our police investigators should not leave any stone unturned in determining the motive and identifying the perpetrator of the grenade blast. Lahat ng anggulo ay ating titingnan sa insidenteng ito (We will look at all possible angles in this incident)," Eleazar said on Monday.

"Isa lang sa maraming posibleng motibo sa insidente ang sinasabing pag-target kay Rep. Mangudadatu ng pagpapasabog. Maaari rin kasing nagkataon lang na dumaan ang convoy [niya] nang naganap ang insidente," he added.

[Translation: Targeting Rep. Mangudadatu in the explosion is only one of the many possible motives. It is also likely that it was just coincidental.]

Mangudadatu is joining the gubernatorial race in the province in next year's polls.

The PNP chief said local authorities will coordinate with congressmen as well as the officers deployed in the Army detachment for the probe.

Eleazar also directed all police units and offices to stay vigilant and work with the military "to prevent any attacks from lawless elements," especially during these elections.

On November 23, 2009, Mangudadatu's wife, Bai Genalyn, other female relatives and supporters, together with 32 media workers, were killed in Ampatuan town in Maguindanao. The victims were in a convoy en route to file Magudadatu's candidacy for provincial governor when ambushed.

A Quezon City court in 2019 convicted eight members of the powerful Ampatuan clan and their accomplices for the massacre.