Three (update: four) persons have been killed by a bomb blast at the Glorietta 2 Mall in Makati City, Philippines. An undetermined number of persons have been injured although ABSCBN News reports nine in hospital. The explosion occurred in or near a restaurant. Live television pictures are showing extensive damage, with debris and cars damaged, including a walkway. Police are said to be looking for other possible explosive devices. The cause of the blast has not been determined but police have ruled out a theorized gas leak, but Makati City councilor Jonjon Binay says it is too early to conclude the real cause just yet.
UPDATES (14:42 pm) : Makati Medical Center reports four dead and 45 injured.
(14:45) Explosion blew out part of the roof and has left a crater estimated to be 8 meters wide.
(15:00) No conclusion has been reached as to the cause of this explosion which occurred at at :25 pm. Conflicting reports are coming in.
(15:30) National Police Chief Avelino Razon, through NCRPO Deputy Dir. Jerry Barias, has just declared RED ALERT throughout Metro Manila. A media center has been set up and he has promised updates every thirty minutes. A fifth death has just been reported.
(16:00) Police have not determined the cause of the blast. The death toll has climbed to six and over 50 are reportedly being treated at Makati Medical Center, some seriously. Supt. Samuel Pagdilao has just expressed his concern about the possibility that this is the feared post-Ramadan offensive of the Jemaah Islamiyah -backed Abu Sayyaf after regular intelligence reports of Islamist threats. It is known that the MILF has been hiding Bali Bombers Dulmatin and Umar Patek in Mindanao. Ayala officials have promised an update by 4:30.
(16:15) DZMM AM radio reports that military officials meeting in Camp Aguinaldo believe C-4 plastic explosive was involved because of the wide extent of the damage.
(16:30) The death toll has risen to eight dead, and 80 are reported injured from counts at Makati Medical Center and Ospital ng Maynila.
(17:00) People like Sen. Nene Pimentel and Jamby Madgrigal really need to shut their big fat mouths at a time like this and refrain from issuing self-serving and hypocritical statements--after all these years that they have been fighting against the promulgation and implementation of the Human Security Act (Anti-Terrorism Law.)
(18:00) National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales says that the government is not planning to use the Human Security Act because of the many infirmities in it, that it would not be effective anyway. Well that's right. The HSA is really a TERRORIST RIGHTS ACT, thanks to nuts like Aquilino Pimentel and Jamby Madrigal who put those infirmities in the act.
(18:15) Maria Ressa, ABSCBN's terrorism expert, talking to Tony Velasquez and Pia Hontiveros notes that the blast radius of the explosion is huge compared to previous attacks like the Jemaah Islamiyah attack on December 30, 2000 (Rizal Day) on the LRT or even the SuperFerry 14 bombing. She mentions the presence in the Philippines of Dulmatin and Umar Patek, responsible for the Bali Bombings, and Zulkifli Abdhir, who have been busy training jihadists for just this very sort of thing. Maria Ressa believes that this successful attack, if found to be Jemaah Islamiyah's doing, represents their attainment of a long desired "Holy Grail" to attack Manila. And to think, we had Mrs. Dulmatin and that nihilist's progeny in custody earlier this year, but for lack of a suitable law, the government actually paid for their plane fare back into the arms of their terrorist pater.
(19:00) SENATOR ANTONIO TRILLANES is a complete and utter idiot for declaring that the blast in Makati today was the work of the President or her allies. I hope he ROTS in jail now and never gets to dark the Senate's door. He's off the blogroll--first time I've ever removed anyone for reasons of total disgust.
(20:00) President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has issued the following statement on the blast:
My Dear Countrymen,No matter what our opinions of her may be, I believe it is our duty as citizens to support the President and Commander in Chief in this dark hour that is increasingly beginning to look like a terrorist attack. I agree with her that this is a time for all of us to unite behind the authorities for the sake of the national security.
At around 1:30 this afternoon the Makati area was rocked by a powerful explosion which so far resulted in 8 killed and at least 70 persons wounded. Initial investigations indicate that the explosion could not have been caused by a LPG accident as earlier reported. Circumstances indicate it is highly probable that it was caused by an explosive device.
We assure everyone that a full blown investigation is now underway. The Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines are on highest alert and are fielding an additional 2000 personnel to secure our public places and to prevent a possible similar occurrence.
I warn those who seek to exploit this incident to destabilize our government for their selfish political motives.
Meanwhile, we urge all sectors to remain vigilant as the government steps up security measures to protect our people.
I am deeply saddened by this unfortunate incident and I extend my sincerest sympathies to the families of those were killed and wounded. The Department of Social Welfare and Development and the National Disaster and Coordinating Council are in close touch with the victims in order to provide them the necessary assistance.
During these trying times we call on the people to pray for peace and unity.
(2100) Professor Roland Simbulan was introduced on Tony Velasquez's Crossroads program on ANC as "security expert" whereupon he delivered the usual communist line about state terrorism and how the Makati Mall blast today might have been done by a small dirty tricks operation under the control of the President in order to divert attention from the political controversies hounding the Arroyo administration. But if I remember right, he was also one of those who, in December 2000, blamed Erap and Ping for the Rizal Day Bombings which killed 22 and hurt over a hundred Filipinos. Recall that just a week before, Joseph Estrada was hit hard in the Senate impeachment trial by the testimony of Clarissa Ocampo and may be considered to have been in the same kind of dangerous trouble as President Arroyo is today. Later, the Indonesian Jemaah Islamiyah terrorists Fathur Rohman al Ghozi and Miklos Yunos were arrested for and sentenced to long jail terms for that terrorist attack -- but only three years after Erap was removed in a coup d'etat called Edsa Dos. The timing of that Jemaah Islamiyah attack is precisely the same as this one! Oh, by the way, read this adoring article from security expert Rolando Simbulan extolling his idol: Che Guevara!
The CPP NPA and its leftist allies like Simbulan have always supported the Muslim rebel movement. But here they may be helping out the Al Qaeda affiliate, Jemaah Islamiyah. International terrorists of a feather flock together. Security expert my foot!
IN DEFERENCE TO THE VICTIMS OF THIS ATROCITY, COMMENTS TO THIS POST HAVE BEEN CLOSED. PLEASE GO ELSEWHERE TO GET YOUR KICKS. THERE'S LOTS OF OTHER BLOGS FOR THAT PURPOSE. MY APOLOGIES TO REGULAR READERS BUT CAN'T DEAL WITH THE TROLLS TODAY.