Philippine National Police

PNP chief orders thorough probe into Maguindanao explosion

Jairo Bolledo
PNP chief orders thorough probe into Maguindanao explosion

AFTERMATH. Moments after the explosion of a hand grenade in Maguindanao.

Representative Toto Mangudadatu

General Guillermo Eleazar says one of the possible motives behind the explosion was to harm Maguindanao lawmaker Esmael 'Toto' Mangudadatu

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Guillermo Eleazar on Monday, October 25, ordered Bangsamoro cops to conduct a thorough investigation into a blast in Maguindanao last weekend. 

“Philippine National Police chief Police General Guillermo Lorenzo T Eleazar directed the Police Regional Office-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) to conduct a thorough probe into the hand grenade blast that transpired near an Army detachment in Maguindanao last Saturday (October 23),” the PNP said in a statement. 

According to the police, a hand grenade was thrown and exploded while the convoy of Maguindanao 2nd District Representative Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu, with around 20 to 30 vehicles, was passing by the military detachment in Guindulungan town. No one was hurt in the incident. 

The aftermath of the explosion was captured on video by Mangudadatu and shared on his Facebook account.

Eleazar said one of the possible motives behind the explosion was the probable targeting of Mangudadatu. 

Isa lang sa maraming posibleng motibo sa insidente ang sinasabing pagtarget kay Maguindanao Rep Esmael Mangudadatu ng pagpapasabog. Maaari rin kasing nagkataon lang na dumaan ang convoy ni Rep. Mangudadatu nang naganap ang insidente,” the PNP chief said. 

(One of the many possible motives of the incident was the alleged targeting of Representative Esmael Mangudadatu. But it could be a possibility that Mangudadatu was just in the area when the explosion happened.)

Pero agad makikipag-ugnayan ang ating mga imbestigador sa kongresista pati na rin sa mga sundalong nakatalaga sa Army detachment para kumuha pa ng ibang detalye (The police investigators will immediately reach out to the lawmaker and soldiers assigned in the Army detachment to gather more details),” Eleazar added.

Toto Mangudadatu is no stranger to roadside attacks.

In November 23, 2009, relatives and one of the wives of Mangudadatu were killed along with journalists in what is now called the Maguindanao Massacre. The crime was considered as one of the worst election-related violence in Philippine history. A total of 58 people, most of them journalists, were killed in that brazen attack on the convoy of Mangudadatu.

A year after the massacre, Mangudadatu was elected as the town’s governor and served until 2019. For 2022, he seeks to reclaim their province’s gubernatorial seat. 

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Murad endorses Toto Mangudadatu for Maguindanao governor

In September, BARMM chief minister Murad Ebrahim endorsed Mangudadatu for governor of Maguindanao. Based on a Philippine News Agency report, two Mangudadatus will battle for the province’s gubernatorial post. 

Incumbent Maguindanao Governor Bai Mariam Sangki-Mangudadatu seeks reelection for 2022. The governor is the wife of Sultan Kudarat Governor Suharto Mangudadatu, Toto’s first degree cousin. – 

Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering the police, crime, military, and security.