No trace of bomb in Serendra blast, says Roxas

From a report by Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 01 2013 08:06 PM | Updated as of Jun 02 2013 05:36 AM

MANILA (2nd UPDATE) – The huge explosion that rocked Bonifacio Global City Friday night came from unit number 501 of Building B at Two Serendra, a residential condo.

The explosion completely destroyed the corner unit, knocking off the walls and damaging 10 units from the building.

The impact of the explosion even shattered mirrors of nearby mall Market! Market! and caused panic.

“Nagulat kami sa pagsabog, akala namin sa loob, ‘yun pala sa labas,” said Roger Biazon, who was inside the mall at the time of the blast.

Another mall-goer, Emma Peroso, said the loud explosion triggered a stampede at the mall’s escalator because they thought there was an earthquake.

A huge slab of concrete debris from the explosion crushed a delivery van, which then slammed into a maroon Starex van.

The passengers of the van were killed. They were identified as driver Salvador Natividad, and assistants Jeffrey Umali and Marlon Bandola.

Five others were injured, among them was Angelito San Juan, the occupant of the unit.

He is still being treated at the intensive care unit of St Luke’s Medical Center.

Residents of the condo unit were immediately evacuated, and all utilities from the building were cut off.

President Benigno Aquino III personally visited the area Friday night to inspect the blast site.

Interior Secretary Mar Roxas said the President has ordered all government agencies to cooperate in the investigation.

“Of course, concerned ang Pangulo. Pinulong niya sila lahat at sinabi na he wants to have an unassailable and very, very clear rationale bakit nga nangyari ito,” he said.

The Taguig City government and Ayala Land management said they will cooperate in the investigation.

“Sa mga mapapait na pangyayaring ito, mahalagang makita ang lahat ng ahensya ng gobyerno na magkaisa sa pagbibigay ng solusyon sa mga problemang ito,” said Taguig Mayor Lani Cayetano.

Ayala Land said it will also give assistance to the victims of the blast.

“Nakikipagtulungan din po kami with Taguig City para doon po sa pagtulong din sa mga naulila lalo na doon sa namatayan kung saan kami ay nakikiramay, at doon sa nasugatan na nasa St. Luke’s, ‘yun din po ay aming inaasikaso sa kasalukuyan,” said Ayala Land President and CEO Antonino Aquino.

Ayala Land added that sections A and B of Two Serendra have been isolated and affected residents are provided with temporary lodging until authorities give clearance for them to return there.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte, meanwhile, gave assurances there will be no cover-up in the probe and asks the public not to speculate on the explosion.

There is no indication yet that a bomb caused the explosion but authorities are not ruling out that angle just yet.

“Doon sa tatlong teams ng bomb-sniffing dogs doon, hindi sila nag-register ng pag-amoy ng fumes o residue na nagmumula sa pangkarinawang bomba,” said Roxas.

He added that the area is still considered a crime scene until the real source of the blast has been established.

Authorities have cleared 22nd St., the street in front of unit 501, of all the debris from the blast. The road has also been opened to traffic but security remains tight in the area.