ArchivesOctober 2010Bomb threat mars work at Hall of Justice

Bomb threat mars work at Hall of Justice


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It turned out to be a hoax again, but a bomb threat received around noontime today, Thursday, at the Palace Hall of Justice in Dumaguete had to be treated like it was real, prompting the evacuation of judges, lawyers, employees and other people doing business in the building.{{more}}

Better safe than sorry, was what Fiscal Ely Escorial told reporters an hour after policemen, the elite bomb squad and Special Weapons and Tactics teams, and K-9 sniffing dogs and their handlers from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency scoured the building for the supposed explosive device.

However, Escorial said that if the bomb threat was real, there would be no warning at all and the explosive device would set off immediately.

“But, we should treat it like it was real, and we should always react to every single alarm each time. We have to ensure our safety,” said Escorial.

He also cited the need to continuously review the security measures being implemented at the government building even though he noted that these were tight enough that a bomb could not possibly be slipped in unnoticed.

He said there was only one entrance and exit for non-employees and the gate at the back of the building was only for exclusive use of the judges and lawyers.

Escorial also said that security guards were under strict instructions to check the bags of people coming to do business at the Hall of Justice.

This is the third time that the Hall of Justice, which houses both the city and provincial prosecutor’s offices and the courts, has received bomb threats that all turned out to be a hoax.

Two threats were received last year during the incumbency of then provincial police director Sr. Supt. Augusto Marquez, Jr.

This is also the second bomb threat in Dumaguete this year, the first one last Oct. 7 at five different venues, which also turned out to be a false alarm.

Provincial police director Sr. Supt. Rey Lyndon Lawas said that two text messages were received around noontime by two different court employees.

The tenor of the text messages indicated that the sender or senders could be seeking justice for the capture Wednesday evening of Danilo Badayos, suspected to be the highest ranking New People’s Army official in southern Negros Oriental.

Badayos and his close-in security and also a suspected NPA rebel, Ricky de la Cruz, were to be presented at the provincial prosecutor’s office at 2 p.m. Thursday for inquest.

Lawas said that there was a highly likely probability the hoax bomb threat at the Hall of Justice was, indeed, connected to the arrest of both suspected rebels.

According to Lawas, Badayos made an unusual remark while they were having lunch together at Camp Fernandez in Agan-an, Sibulan, when the police director mentioned the supposed bomb threat.

Badayos said that he hoped the text messages were not from his companions, apparently from the underground movement even though he did not specify whom he meant by that, said Lawas.

The police cleared the area about two hours from the time of the receipt of the threat messages.

Lawas also said the absence of panic among the employees and other people who were being evacuated outside the building even as some of them were not even aware of a bomb threat. (RMA/JFP/PNA)

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