(Update) Eight people were injured when a grenade planted by still unidentified persons exploded at a money-lending establishment in Cagayan de Oro City early Wednesday, police and military officials said.
Senior Supt. Gerardo Rosales, Cagayan de Oro City Police director, said the explosion occurred around 8 a.m. at the Golden Sun Finance Corp. branch along C.M. Recto Ave., Brgy. Lapasan in the city proper.
He identified the injured as security guard JR Palma, Golden Sun employee Varceliza Salamanca, Fritzie Piyos, Danny Ragnag, retired SPO2 Rodolfo Cabutad, SPO2 Ronelio Mendiola, jeepney driver Fernando Biernes, and passenger Roderick Cadevit.
Palma, who was seriously injured, has been taken to the Capitol University Medical Center along with five other victims. Biernes and Cadevit were brought to the Northern Mindanao Regional Medical Center, Rosales said.
Investigation showed that Palma, Salamanca, and another Golden Sun employee were opening the establishment’s accordion door when the grenade went off.
The blast came from an MK-2 grenade that was set up like a “booby-trap” on the accordion door, Lt. Col. Eugenio Osias, spokesman of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division, said in an earlier interview.
Members of the Army’s Explosives and Ordnance Disposal unit were quickly sent to cordon the area and determine what type of explosive went off, he said.
“Tinali ‘yung granada sa accordion door, parang booby trap. Ginawang booby trap na pag binira mo ‘yung pinto, mabibira yung tali, kasama ‘yung pin, puputok ‘yung granada,” Rosales said.
Palma bore the brunt of the explosion as he was the one who pulled the accordion door, according to the police official.
Shrapnels also burst from the grenade, hitting the passing jeepney driven by Biernes. Mendiola, who was riding a motorcycle to report for duty at the Cagayan de Oro City Police Station 8, also suffered shrapnel wounds.
Rosales said investigators have yet to identify who planted the grenade, but are looking at the possibility that it was someone “angry” with Golden Sun.
“May galit ito siguro dito sa Golden Sun Finance, may mga finile-an daw kasi ng kaso itong Golden Sun. May finile-an sila ng kaso na mga tao na may utang sa kanila… ‘yan ‘yung anggulo na tinitingnan namin,” he said.
Scam link probed
The explosion came in the wake of investment scams which have duped thousands of people in Mindanao of billions of pesos.
One scam, perpetrated by Aman Futures, has been blamed for at least one killing, abductions, burning of houses, and threats in various parts of Mindanao.
Police said earlier that some of those who lost money in the scam even borrowed money from relatives and financial institutions to invest in Aman.
Rosales said that it was possible, though still too early, to link the grenade attack on Golden Sun with any investment scam.
“Hindi pa natin ma-link ito kasi hindi pa natin nakakausap ‘yung mga teller nila (Golden Sun), mga manager, kung sinu-sino ba ‘yung mga tao na may utang sa kanila… remote pa ‘yang possibility na ‘yan,” he said. (John Roson)
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