The spirits of Glorietta 2's dead seek justice and the truth
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2007-11-01
The circumstances around the Glorietta 2 explosion are far too disturbing. We must have an investigation that is thorough, truthful and credible.

With its credibility sinking even lower and the regime of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) always perceived as suspect, only an independent investigation will clear doubts and convince people of what really took place.

Officially insisting on accidental causes for the explosion is not going to clear doubts especially since University of the Philippines chemistry experts already stated that they believed otherwise. Ayala Land, Inc. (ALI) subscribes to the latter's assessment.

ALI's objection to the accident theory may be seen as self-serving because it could open them to legal liabilities and damages. But their arguments are valid. They explained that most of the waste matter that goes into the mall's sewage system is mainly liquid (rather than solid waste) which makes it unlikely for methane gas to trigger an explosion.

British experts likewise agree that the accident angle does not seem logical and had advised that we not discount the terrorism angle. I know of no other country I could hold in high esteem for their knowledge of explosions other than the UK.

Their experience with Al Qaeda and IRA (Irish Republican Army) terror bombers, including the IRA bombing in 1970 which razed a London hotel, has demonstrated British familiarity with bombing devices.

It was the authorities themselves who first raised the likelihood of a terror bomb immediately after the mid-day explosion at Glorietta 2. Adding to the mystery are the sightings, that evening after the blast, of two military personnel said to be carrying plastic bags at the site.

The two military personnel were suspected to either be attempting to plant or remove evidence. They could have been there to remove evidence of government complicity, assuming it was a government ploy intended to distract people from raging issues against the Arroyo regime. Or, they could have been there to plant evidence to frame GMA political adversaries for the explosion.

In detention, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV charged NSA Secretary Norberto Gonzales and AFP Chief of Staff General Hermogenes Esperon as the masterminds behind the explosion. The charges of Senator Trillanes have to be seriously looked into inasmuch as he is offering to produce witnesses who he claims to be actual operatives who are supposedly part of the bombing team.

In fact, the sudden rebuke by Sen. Gringo Honasan of Sen. Trillanes for making those charges, obviously to discredit Sen. Trillanes, is an indication that the freshman Senator could be on to something. Beneficiary of a virtual pardon when government went easy on rebellion charges against him, Sen. Honasan is now scratching Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's back, beneath his pretense at being an Independent.

One theory that has to be considered in the light of these developments and on the assumption that the allegation of Sen. Trillanes is accurate — is that the accident angle was promoted to cover up any further link to the already beleaguered Arroyo regime.

With the ZTE scandal, two incidents of bribery, and massive cracks in the administration House coalition boiling in the same brew, the Arroyo regime cannot afford to be linked to a bombing that caused 11 fatalities and countless injuries — a potential tipping point.

The regime may have miscalculated that people will regard them as the primary suspects. Because of this perception, they are now forced to reverse gear and shift to an accident scenario. Maybe, the hasty pardon of Joseph Estrada was intended to divert this issue.

The new airport restrictions on carrying fluid among hand carried items underscore the danger that some seemingly very ordinary objects can be used as ingredients for explosives. We can’t rule out the possibility that available materials in Glorietta 2 may have been utilized.

But even so, it does not eliminate the possibility that someone may have caused these materials to ignite. Even without the use of a conventional bomb, the possibility exists that there could be perpetrators who planned and executed the blast.

The Senate owes it to their detained colleague to provide him a venue to prove his accusations. But more than that, the Senate must do this for the victims and the 80 million other Filipinos who may just end up being dragged into a civil war or caught in another dark episode of martial law.

If Sen. Trillanes produces an actual operative as witness to support his allegation, then the anti-Arroyo Senators will have an even more powerful issue on its hands with which to mobilize all sectors of society and oust GMA. Such a testimony from an actual operative will break the so-called chain of command of the military.

This is a patently illegal order that even the lowest private in the AFP will recognize and having done so, the AFP will have no other choice but to seek a new order of battle.

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