Palace: US Embassy bomb scare shouldn’t be cause for alarm
Malacañang on Monday assured the public that the improvised explosive device (IED) recovered near the US Embassy in Manila should not be a cause for alarm, noting that government security forces are on top of the situation.
Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said the Philippine National Police would beef up security in “public places where there are big crowds” following the incident.
“To ensure public safety in airports, seaports, bus and mass transport terminals, concerned transport agencies are instructed to increase the visibility and presence of uniformed personnel and heighten the screening of persons and luggage as part of our security vigilance,” Andanar said in a statement.
“We assure the public that this incident should not be a cause for alarm. Business and work continue as normal,” he added.
An IED was found by a street sweeper in a trash bin yards away from the embassy on Monday morning. Manila police have safely defused the bomb.
PNP chief Director General Ronald Dela Rosa said the IED was similar to the one used in the September bombing of a night market in Davao City and may be possibly connected to the Maute Group in Lanao del Sur, who occupied the town hall of Butig and several other structures since last week.
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella also allayed fears that the US embassy incident and ongoing military operations against the Maute Group would justify a move to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus and declare martial law.
“The reaction of opposition lawmakers that the discovery of IED near the US embassy along with movement of the Maute Group may be a laying foundation for the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus is reading too much into the situation. The suspicious circumstances are already being investigated by government security forces,” Abella said.
Andanar said President Rodrigo Duterte finds “no compelling reason” to suspend the writ of habeas corpus.
“As a strong advocate of the rule of law, he is fully aware of the limits of presidential powers. The Commander-in-chief trusts the capability and competence of Philippine National Police Head General Ronald de la Rosa to maintain law and order and to serve and protect the citizenry,” he said.
“He knows that General de la Rosa is up to the job and can handle any untoward incident and the over-all situation very well. Given this, President Duterte believes any intervention at his level is unnecessary,” Andanar added. RAM
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