MANILA, Philippines - A failed explosion temporarily interrupted the Mangudadatu family's commemoration of the third anniversary of the brutal Maguindanao massacre on Friday.
Led by Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, family and friends gathered on Friday morning to honor the memories of the 58 people killed in the town of Ampatuan in Maguindanao province on November 23, 2009.
Their convoy was passing through the rotunda along Isulan, Sultan Kudarat when smoke was suddenly seen coming out from an improvised explosive device (IED) on a motorcycle parked about five meters away from the convoy.
Police's initial investigation showed that the IED used a mechanism engaging cellphone technology for it to detonate.
Mangudadatu said he believes the explosive device targeted his family.
"Walang ibang okasyon ngayon kundi gunitain ang third year ng Ampatuan massacre. So that explosive device found on the ground of the rotunda of Isulan, Sultan Kudarat was purposely for our convoy," he said.
He added, "Pagdaan ng convoy namin, dun umusok 'yung explosive device. Natapat sa sasakyan ng anak ko."
Mangudadatu said police had already identified the owner of the motorcycle. He declined, however, to reveal the owner's name.
Ampatuans attend anniversary
A few members of the Ampatuan clan also attended the program held in the massacre site.
They were Maguindanao provincial board members Sarip Ampatuan and Yasser Ampatuan, who claimed they are not in good terms with the family of former Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr.
Ampatuan has been tagged as the mastermind behind the gruesome massacre, which is considered as the worst political-related violence in the country.
Sarip, a half-brother of Ampatuan, and Yasser said they were actually the first victims of violence allegedly perpetrated by the family of Ampatuan.
Meanwhile, a man was reportedly arrested by police authorities earlier today in the site of the massacre after a witness pointed the man as one of the suspects behind the brutal killings. -- From a report by Jorge Cariño, ABS-CBN News