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PNP says no link between Cotabato judge’s house blast and plebiscite

Initial findings on the grenade attack at the residence of Cotabato City Judge Angelito Rasalan on Sunday point to personal motive and that it has nothing to do with the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) plebiscite, said Philippine National Police chief Director General Oscar Albayalde.

On Monday, Albayalde ordered a probe on the blast, saying investigators are not discounting the possibility that it was committed by members of a local terrorist group.

“It (attack) has nothing to do with the ongoing plebiscite there,” Albayalde said.

Rasalan, a judge at the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Upi, Maguindanao, is the brother of Aniceto Rasalan, executive secretary of Cotabato City Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi, an anti-BOL advocate.

There were two explosions inside the compound of Rasalan’s house in Barangay Rosary Heights in Cotabato City around 9 p.m. Sunday. Witnesses said two unidentified motorcycle riding suspects threw the grenade in the compound. No one was hurt in the incident.

Authorities recovered a safety lever and a ring of MK2 fragmentation hand grenade from the area.

More than  20,000 police and military forces were deployed to ensure the security during the voting in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and the cities of Isabela and Cotabato for the ratification of the BOL.

Albayalde said such number of forces is enough and he sees no reason for its augmentation despite the incident.

He said 6,698 police personnel were deployed to provide security and police assistance to an estimated 2,165,316 registered voters who were expected to go to polling centers in 2,572 barangays in these areas on Monday.

Another 3,209 police personnel will be fielded in the BOL plebiscite on February 6 in six municipalities of Lanao del Norte and 39 barangays in North Cotabato, Albayalde added.#