Authorities are studying the possibility that the two explosions in Palawan on Thursday are aimed at diverting public attention from issues in the province’s political arena, a police official said.

Inspector Grace Vic Gomba, spokesman of the police task group probing the blasts, said they are currently focused on “changes in the political environment” but have not yet discounted other angles.

“‘Yung governor ngayon is the target for a recall election, ‘yun namang ex-governor is the subject of a manhunt operation, kaya maaring diversionary tactics,” Gomba said in a phone interview.

“Sa ngayon, ‘yun pa lang ang tinitingnan, but we have not yet set aside other motives like extortion, harrassment, terrorism, nandiyan pa ‘yan,” he said.

In January, the Commission on Elections affirmed an earlier decision that upholds the sufficiency of a recall petition filed by cause-oriented group Kilusang Love Malampaya against Palawan Gov. Abraham Kahlil Mitra for alleged graft acts, anti-environment policies, and negligence, among others.

Former Gov. Joel Reyes, on the other hand, is being hunted down by the police after the Palawan Regional Trial Court Branch 52 ordered his arrest for the January 2011 murder of environmentalist and radio broadcaster Gerry “Doc Gerry” Ortega in Puerto Princesa.

Meanwhile, Gomba said explosive experts of Task Group Hunter found that the blasts at the Entalula Beach in Brgy. Masagana, El Nido, and the Puerto Royal Express Bus Station in Brgy. San Jose, Puerto Princesa City, were both caused by “improvised explosive devices.”

“Parehong blast, almost the same manner ginawa, cellphone-triggered ‘yung IEDs,” he said.

At the blast site in El Nido, police found a shattered cellphone case, a 9-volt battery, and plastic bags where the explosives were placed. The 5:20 p.m. explosion there injured cook Aiza Gay Martinez, who was throwing garbage outside the resort.

In Puerto Princesa City, authorities recovered what seems to be the “mother board” of a cellphone unit, Gomba said. The explosion occurred at the back of the bus station 5:30 p.m., leaving Marivic Arias, 28, and tricycle driver Cenon Magdayo, 75, injured.

Pieces of evidence found in the blast sites will be sent to the PNP Crime Laboratory in Manila for further examination, Gomba said.

These will also be “cross-matched” with evidences found at near the Puerto Princesa Underground River in Brgy. Sabang, where another explosion took place on March 19, he said. (John Roson)

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