Dumaguete residents were victims of bomb threats that caused the temporary suspension of activities in the Hall of Justice last Wednesday and again at the Colegio de Sta. Catalina de Alejandria (COSCA) last Thursday.
The Hall of Justice threat was received in a phone call by a court employee at RTC Branch 38 at around 2:00 p.m. The caller claimed that there was a bomb inside the Hall of Justice.
The employee then called the provincial police office and ten minutes after, the SWAT team arrived to search through all the offices inside the building but found nothing suspicious. “We had to conduct the search in all the salas as the caller did not identify any particular branch,” said Police Supt. Roy Abella, provincial police director for administration.
Abella hinted at the possibility that the bomb threats are related to cases being handled at the Hall of Justice.
RTC Branch 35 Judge Crescencio Tan, meanwhile, dismissed this threat as “just another prank call.” This is the fourth bomb threat at the Hall of Justice.
The second bomb threat was reported, again at 2 p.m., last Thursday. The bomb threat led COSCA administrators to suspend classes that afternoon and evacuate some 700 students, faculty and staff.
Fr. Pepe Vincoy, COSCA vice president, said elementary and high school students were transferred via the school’s exit gate to the adjacent St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral, while the college students and faculty went out into the streets.
Traffic was sealed off on streets leading to the school as Philippine National Police elite teams, Dumaguete City police personnel, civilian rescuers and even police interns were deployed to do a thorough search of the school using a bomb-sniffing Labrador retriever.
The threat was contained in a text message received by former a COSCA registrar.
PNP deputy provincial director Supt. Roy Abella, who supervised the search for an improvised explosive, declared the area clear shortly before 5 p.m.
Police suspect a former employee of the school who may have an axe to grind against the COSCA administration. (with reports from PIA/PNA)