No bomb residue found at Serendra blast site

Sid Ventura
Yahoo! Southeast Asia Newsroom
1 June 2013
Investigators at Two Serendra
Plainclothes police scene-of-the-crime investigators inspect the area where a delivery truck was hit by a concrete slab that was torn off from the Two Serendra condo building due to a powerful explosion in Taguig City, south of Manila, on 31 May 2013. According to news reports, the explosion happened past 8:00 in the evening, where at least three people were instantly killed and four others are wounded. President Benigno Aquino III, with Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, have arrived at the explosion site. (Mike Alquinto/NPPA Images)

Interior Secretary Mar Roxas said Saturday that so far, initial investigation showed no indication that Friday night’s blast at a condominium unit in Two Serendra in Taguig was caused by a bomb.

Roxas said that three teams of bomb-sniffing dogs combed through the blast site and did not find any traces of fumes or residue usually found in bombs. 

“The dogs did not give indication that there were traces of a bomb or explosives,” he said during a press briefing held near the blast site. He added that so far no triggering device has been found either, even as he reiterated his appeal for the public to refrain from speculating.

Roxas clarified that the cause of the explosion was still being determined and that investigators are not ruling out anything at this point as they were still studying forensic evidence. He labeled the absence of bomb residue and a triggering device as “significant but not determinant”.

The blast ripped through Unit 501 of the posh condominium complex at around 8PM Friday night, killing three persons in a delivery van and injuring five others, including the owner of the unit, identified as a certain Mr. San Juan.

San Juan suffered burns on his body and is currently in the intensive care unit of St. Luke’s Medical Center, where he is reportedly in stable condition.

The victims were identified as Salvador Natividad, the van driver, Marlon Bandola and Jeffrey Umali. Taguig City mayor Lani Cayetano said that the city government would provide assistance to the families of the victims and affected residents.

There was some confusion early Saturday after the National Disaster and Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said the death toll had risen to six, before retracting the statement and saying it was still three.

“There might have been miscommunication a while ago,” Roxas clarified. "Only three died.”

Asked why investigators labeled the site a crime scene last night, Roxas said “the presumption is it is a crime scene. We couldn't say if it was just an accident.”

Meanwhile, Ayala Land has submitted CCTV records of Two Serendra to investigators to aid them in constructing a timeline of events that transpired prior to the blast. ALI president Tony Aquino added that Two Serendra and nearby buildings have been evacuated and utilities turned off. Aside from Unit 501, ten other condominium units sustained damage in the 35-unit residential complex.