Cotabato judge’s house blast not link to BOL plebiscite: PNP

MANILA — Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Oscar Albayalde on Monday ordered a probe on the grenade attack at the residence of Cotabato City Judge Angelito Rasalan, a day before the historic plebiscite on the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

Albayalde, however, said initial findings point to personal motive as the motive behind the blast and that it has nothing to do with the BOL plebiscite.

“It [attack] has nothing to do with the ongoing plebiscite there,” Albayalde told reporters on Monday at Camp Crame, Quezon City.

He said investigators are not discounting the possibility that it was committed by members of a local terrorist group in the area.

Rasalan is judge at the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Upi, Maguindanao and a brother of Aniceto Rasalan, executive secretary of Cotabato City Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi, an anti-BOL advocate.

On Sunday, two explosions were heard inside the compound of Rasalan’s house in Barangay Rosary Heights in Cotabato City around 9 p.m.

Witnesses said two unidentified motorcycle riding suspects threw grenade into the compound.

No one was hurt in the said incident.

Authorities recovered a safety lever and a ring of MK2 fragmentation hand grenade from the area.

Over 20,000 police and military forces were deployed to ensure the security during the voting in the region.

Albayalde said such number of forces is enough and he sees no reason for its augmentation despite the said incident.

He said a sizable force of 6,698 police personnel is deployed to provide security and police assistance to an estimated 2,165,316 registered voters, who will troop to polling centers in 2,572 barangay in these areas until the close of polling hours in the afternoon.

Another force of 3,209 police personnel will be fielded in the BOL Plebiscite on February 6 in six municipalities of Lanao del Norte and 39 barangay in North Cotabato, Albayalde said.  Christopher Lloyd Caliwan / PNA