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Grenade attack vs Cotabato City judge ‘personal’

MANILA, Philippines – Cops suspect the grenade attack on the home of Cotabato City-based judge Angelito Rasalan was fueled by a personal grudge, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said on Monday, January 21.

"Seemingly, something personal ang tinitingnan sa pangyayari o incident on sa judge (We are looking at something personal on the incident that happened concerning the judge). It has nothing to do sa ongoing plebiscite doon (there)," Albayalde said in a press briefing in Camp Crame.

What attack: On Sunday, still unidentified suspects threw at least one grenade inside the enclosed Cotabato City home of Maguindanao Municipal Trial Court Judge Rasalan, sparking suspicions that the attack had connections with the historic vote on the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

Judge Rasalan's brother, Aniceto, is the secretary of Cotabato City Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi, who has been campaigning against the inclusion of her city in the proposed Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Why is it unlikely connected? According to Albayalde, if anyone wanted to threaten and affect the turnout of the BOL plebiscite, they would have bombed a public place to scare off more people.

"It could also be to scare off people, but if they wanted to scare off people, they would have done it outside in a public place, not inside the compound of the judge," Albayalde said in a mix of English and Filipino.

Police reaction: Albayalde said his order to cops remains: That reserve forces need to be deployed as much as possible.

Usually, these cops should be on standby inside police stations, ready to respond in case anything happens. But considering the gravity of the historic BOL plebiscite, Albayalde said it was best to have them augment patrols and checkpoint units across the region. – Rappler.com

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

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