Possible suspects and vehicles used by perpetrators of the assassination attempt on the life of Misamis Occidental Governor Henry S. Oaminal were identified by the provincial police, according to Director Police Colonel Dwight Monato.
Monato provided the update as a part of the ongoing investigation on the incident, wherein an improvised explosive device (IED) was detonated along a road in Clarin town while the governor and his security convoy was passing through late October 15.
Oaminal earlier attributed the attempt on his life on criminal and drug syndicates that lost “hundreds of millions worth of illegal operations when law and order was restored in the province.”
During his report, Monato presented a crime scene map revealing that the blast occurred at approximately 11:10 PM, some distance away from Aya Hotel, where the governor was traveling from.
“So far, the case is ongoing. We are in the process of investigating the case, and we have persons of interest and vehicles of interest. This has been alarming to all police stations and all the PNP units province-wide,” he noted.
Monato shared as well pictures of the actual blast site, the positions of the convoy, and the location of the bomb. He confirmed early reports that among the four vehicles in the convoy, only the first two sustained impact from the blast, with the governor just behind the second vehicle.
The third vehicle suffered minimal damage, and all 14 people on board escaped unharmed.
Monato validated that the explosion was caused by an IED, and the forensic unit’s terminal analysis indicated the presence of ammonium nitrate commonly used in mining. A cell phone trigger mechanism was confirmed to be the method of detonation.
“The content of the explosive is about 2 kilos, and shrapnel is about 1/1 inch in diameter, so this is a destructive component and considered high explosives,” Monato added.
The provincial police director also affirmed that the motive behind the attack could be a combination of political and personal reasons.
Statements have been collected from the individuals who were part of the convoy, including Governor Oaminal, in an effort to piece together the exact sequence of events. Investigators also reviewed CCTV footage from the vicinity of the blast site to gather additional evidence.
In response to the incident, the PNP increased security for the governor and held discussions with security officers to potentially deploy additional police forces to protect residents and other areas of engagement.
Additionally, tracker teams were formed and border controls were intensified through checkpoints, “Oplan Bakal,” and “Oplan Sita,” to relentlessly pursue the suspects based on their identities and vehicle descriptions, which were observed in the vicinity of the blast site.