Rufus Rodriguez

Grenade lobbed at Deputy Speaker Rodriguez’s home in Cagayan de Oro

Herbie Gomez

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Grenade lobbed at Deputy Speaker Rodriguez’s home in Cagayan de Oro

HOUSE LEADER. File photo shows Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez, who is Cagayan de Oro 2nd District representative.

The grenade landed on the garage of the Rodriguez family's ancestral home but did not go off. Police say they found the grenade's safety lever still intact.

Motorcycle-riding men lobbed a grenade at the ancestral home of Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez in Barangay Nazareth, Cagayan de Oro, past midnight of Wednesday, September 29.

Police said the World War II-era Mk 2 grenade landed on the garage of the Rodriguezes’ home but did not go off.

The home’s security guard said the grenade was lobbed by still unidentified men riding in tandem on a motorcycle, who sped off. The only ones home at the time were guards and helpers.

“The Rodriguez family is safe and no one is harmed in the incident,” the family said in an official statement on Twitter shared by Rodriguez, who is Cagayan de Oro 2nd District representative.

“Lives were put at risk in the grenade attack at the ancestral residence of the Rodriguez family in Barangay Nazareth in Cagayan de Oro earlier today. We condemn in the strongest terms this act of violence perpetrated by unknown men,” the family said.

“The authorities are currently conducting the investigations, and justice will be served against all those responsible for the crime,” they added.

Police investigation

Cagayan de Oro police chief Colonel Aaron Mandia said he was personally taking the lead in investigating the incident. He said it was too early to say if the attack was election-related.

Rodriguez earlier announced that he was consulting his family, political allies, and supporters about running for city mayor again.

Rodriguez, leader of the federalism advocate Centrist Democratic Party, failed in his first attempt in 2016 when he challenged the reelection bid of Mayor Oscar Moreno. That year, he ranked third in the three-cornered fight that included another Moreno challenger, the late former mayor Vicente Emano.

“We are still determining what really happened and what the motive was. At this point, we cannot conclude that it was election-related,” Mandia told Magnum Radio.

Police said they have yet to identify a suspect as of this posting.

“Investigators are not discounting anything, and we are not ruling out that possibility that it had something to do with politics,” said Major Ivan Vinas, spokesman of the Cagayan de Oro City Police Office.

But Vinas said investigators were puzzled because the grenade’s safety lever was intact, and none of the Rodriguezes were at home at that time.

Mandia also noted that one of the guards picked up the grenade before investigators arrived at the crime scene.

“That was really dangerous. In situations like that, you immediately call the police,” he said.

Partisan politics?

Rodriguez told Rappler only guards and helpers were in the house when the grenade was thrown there past 1 am.

“I was there for more than a week until I returned to Manila,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez and his sister, Councilor Jocelyn Rodriguez, said they could not think of any motive aside from partisan politics.

“We have no enemies. What we have are political opponents. But it’s just politics, and nothing personal. After the elections, we are friends again,” Rodriguez said.

The Rodriguezes have established a political bailiwick in the eastern areas of Cagayan de Oro. 

Years ago, Rufus and his younger brother, Maximo Jr., served as congressmen at the same time with the former representing the city’s 2nd District and the latter serving as a representative of Abante Mindanao.

Their sister Jocelyn is serving her first term in the city council and is being considered as a potential candidate for vice mayor.

Maximo’s son and namesake Maximo III is currently the chairman of Nazareth village, one of the city’s biggest urban barangays in terms of voters’ population.

If Rufus runs for mayor, the Rodriguezes are likely to clash head-on with another political family headed by Cagayan de Oro 1st District Representative Rolando Uy.

Uy’s son, Reineir Joaquin, is the city’s vice mayor while the congressman’s wife Lorna is the chairperson of Carmen village, which has the biggest voting population among the city’s barangays.

After falling out between Moreno and the Rodriguezes when Rufus ran for the city’s mayoral post in 2016, the Uys remained as loyal allies of the mayor. Moreno, who is serving his third and final office term, has been vocal about his preference for Rolando to succeed him in city hall. –

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Herbie Gomez

Herbie Salvosa Gomez is coordinator of Rappler’s bureau in Mindanao, where he has practiced journalism for over three decades. He writes a column called “Pastilan,” after a familiar expression in Cagayan de Oro, tackling issues in the Southern Philippines.