A car bomb went off while Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu’s convoy was passing through Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat, Monday afternoon, leaving at least one person dead and seven others, including a provincial board member, injured.

Chief Superintendent Benjardi Mantele, Soccsksargen regional police director, identified the fatality as Raffy Parenas, of Purok 9, Tacurong City.

Injured were Bebot Barabarang, Datu Rusman Sinsuat Sr., Datu Rusman Sinsuat Jr., Noble Abdullah, Mabang Antonio Algaba, Richard Sonza, and Robert Formacion, Mantele said in a text message.

Rusman Sr. is the provincial board member of Maguindanao, Senior Supt. Danilo Peralta, Sultan Kudarat provincial police director, said in a phone interview.

The explosion occurred in front of the Cherubin Methodist Learning Center along the National Highway around 3:30 p.m., while Mangudadatu’s convoy was passing by.

“‘Yung sumabog ay isang kotse na naka-park sa highway, biglang sumabog n’ung dumaan yung convoy,” Peralta said.

Rusman’s Toyota Fortuner, the third vehicle in Magudadatu’s convoy, bore the brunt of the explosion, which also hit a tricycle driver and two bystanders, according to the police official.

“Naiwan lang is ‘yung ulo ng kotseng sumabog… at dahil sa pagsabog nitong Kia na puti, tinamaan ‘yung Fortuner na dumadaan, medyo sira-sira din pero kumpleto pa naman,” Peralta said.

Investigators have yet to determine the motive and identities of the attackers, but Peralta said they have already identified the car owner, a certain maureen Macasindil of Maa, Davao City, who they may invite for questioning. (John Roson)

– end –