Vapor from bunker fuel used to run power generators at the Glorietta 2 commercial complex in Makati City, and not a bomb, may have caused last Friday’s deadly blast that so far killed 11 persons.
Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson said Monday this was the gist of information reaching him, even as he urged the Philippine National Police (PNP) to take steps to make sure its findings are credible and to avoid confusion.
“My information indicates that the cause of the explosion was diesel vapor in the basement. The Ayala Malls use their own generators to save on electricity. If it is indeed the diesel vapor that exploded, it may explain why the ceiling of the basement was burned,” Lacson said.
He also noted that after initially assessing that there were traces of RDX, a key component in C-4 explosives, there was no other corroborative material to support the theory that RDX caused the explosion.
Further bolstering the “accident” theory was the “zero intelligence” of foreign embassies in the Philippines regarding any possible terrorist attack.
“The foreign embassies based here have very competent intelligence operatives, especially in signal and technical intelligence. If they received no advance information from the so-called usual suspects such as the New People’s Army and extremists, it bolsters the theory that what happened last Friday was either an accident, or a new group other than the ‘usual suspects’ is behind it,” Lacson said.
Lacson also clarified that he was not blaming the government for what happened last Friday. He said he merely urged government through the police to do its best to solve the case soonest to disprove or at least quell speculations that the tragedy was a diversionary tactic.
He particularly called on the Metro Manila police under Dir. Geary Barias to have the Explosives and Ordnance Divisions (EODs) of various police and military units that scoured “Ground Zero” to compare notes.
“The EOD teams that scoured the area should meet and compare notes to come up with a definite finding,” he said, adding he has confidence in the investigating team now handling the case. He noted many of the key investigators worked under him at the defunct Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force in solving past bombings.
In those cases, he said the teams worked 24 hours a day and even managed to reconstruct the bomb after recovering its components.
Lacson also advised investigators to minimize confusion by maintaining a tactical operations center to process all information gathered by investigators, and to make sure there is only one spokesman who will inform the public about developments.
“Unless investigators can conclusively clarify that RDX caused the explosion, speculations will continue that the government had something to do with it, based on the criteria of motive, opportunity and capability. An analysis would show that it is the government that has the motive to divert public attention from cases of graft; the capability to use RDX explosives because only the military has access to C-4 explosives; and opportunity because security has been relatively lax in past months,” he said.