Grenade disarmed near Cotabato plebiscite center

COTABATO CITY – Military disposal bomb experts disarmed here Monday a live hand grenade found near the gate of a public school serving as one of the polling centers for the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) in this city.

Senior Supt. Michael Lebanan, city police director, said the grenade, found sans its safety lever and pin, was discovered by a store owner near the gate of the Roxas National High School along Barangay Rosary Heights 12 at about 5:45 a.m.

“Members of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team quickly conducted a ‘blast-on-site’ strategy to rid off the grenade,” Lebanan said.

He said additional security forces were deployed to the area following the incident. Polling centers were set to open at 7 a.m. and close at 3 p.m. for the referendum.

The school has some 10 voting precincts that would cater to some 500 electorates. The city, which has 37 villages, has 749 voting precincts established in 33 voting centers across the city. The city also has 113,551 registered voters.

As this developed, 33 polling precincts in Cotabato City are without plebiscite committee (PlebCom) members as they did not show up during the distribution of polling materials at the city hall at 6 a.m.

Perdausse Ali, legal adviser of the Department of Education – Cotabato City, said several of the teachers had received threats on their mobile phones regarding their serving the referendum.

Concepcion Balawag, city schools’ division superintendent, said though that they have reserved teachers to serve in the referendum. On Sunday night, grenade explosions also rocked the residence of Municipal Circuit Trial Court Judge Angelito Rasalan of Upi, Maguindanao, in this city.

No one was reported hurt in the incident that occurred at about 9 p.m. just outside the compound of the magistrate’s house along Sta, Maria St., Barangay Rosary Heights Mother. Police probers are currently looking deeper into the latest bombing occurrences here. 
 Noel Punzalan / PNA –