Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bomb explodes anew in Cotabato City

MAGUINDANAO, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Sept. 14, 2011) – A homemade bomb exploded on Wednesday in Cotabato City in the southern Philippines, but authorities said there were no reports of casualties.

Authorities said a second bomb was also disarmed and both explosives were fashioned out from mortar bombs. No group claimed responsibility for the explosion, but it occurred a day after two bombs went off in Cotabato’s main business district.

The latest explosion occurred outside the office of Governor Ansaruddin Adiong, of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

It was not immediately known whether Adiong was the target of the attack, but the governor seldom holds office in Cotabato and spends most of his time either in his hometown in Lanao del Sur or Davao City and Manila.

Police said the bomb attacks in Cotabato City could be the handiwork of a local Jemaah Islamiya militant, Basit Usman, who is also a member of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the country’s largest Muslim rebel group fighting for self-determination in the troubled region.

It was unknown how the bomber was able to pass through a series of police and military checkpoints in Cotabato, and planted the improvised explosives outside the tightly guarded ARMM compound.

Tuesday’s blasts coincided with the visit of Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo who attended a government forum on the nominees for the acting governor in the Muslim autonomous region.

It was not immediately known whether the explosions were meant to disrupt the forum or embarrass Robredo, who is among those sitting in the panel that will choose the acting regional governor.

Congress postponed this year’s elections in the ARMM and synchronized it with the mid-term polls in 2013 on the prodding of President Benigno Aquino.

But the Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a temporary restraining order and would have to decide by the end of this month on several petitions filed by opposition politicians against the postponement of elections who said it was against the Constitution.

The Supreme Court said in the event that the petitions will not be resolved, incumbent ARMM officials shall stay in holdover capacity until their successors are elected.

Among those who opposed the postponement of elections were House Minority Leader Edcel Lagman and lawyer Romulo Macalintal, who were both allies of former President Gloria Arroyo accused of election fraud in 2004 in the ARMM; and also Senator Aquilino Pimentel and Congressman Jacinto Paras and several other Muslim leaders. (Mindanao Examiner)

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