Bomb or chemical? Serendra blast probers weigh in

Authorities have yet to rule out bombs as the cause of blast in high-end condominium in Taguig City on Friday.
 
But the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) raised the “higher possibility” that chemicals may have caused the explosion at Two Serendra that killed three people on May 31.
 
Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas said they are taking cue from the absence of bomb components and negative indications from three teams of bomb-sniffing dogs on site.
 
“The result of the investigation is not yet conclusive but I can say the probability that a bomb caused the explosion is decreasing because of two things: We did not see any triggering device and the negative indication from the dogs,” Roxas said.
 
“This means that they did not bark or sit. A part of the dogs’ trainings includes sitting down or barking once they smell residue or fumes. But we are still not ruling it out,” he clarified.
 
On Friday evening, K-9 units from Southern Police District (SPD), National Capital Regional Police Office (NCRPO), and the Armed Forces of the Philippines failed to detect ordnance, powder and bomb residues or components in the blast site.
 
This, Roxas noted, prompted authorities to involve experts from the University of the Philippines (UP) and Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to help in the probe.
 
The cabinet member said he instructed UP and DOST experts to calculate the amount of force needed to break the huge block of cement and concrete as well as figure out where it came from.
 
“A team from UP and DOST went there (in the blast site) because there is science – chemistry and physics – that are involved to solve the case,” he added.
 
“Maari na isang ang posibilidad na chemical ito. Hindi natin talaga alam kung ano ang ginagawa nung tao sa loob ng apartment,” he added.
 
The blast that ripped through Two Serendra condo unit killed 3 persons and injured five others including the unit’s occupant, identified as Angelito San Juan, who suffered burns.
 
San Juan is still confined at the intensive care unit at St. Luke’s Hospital in Taguig and cannot yet help authorities fill in the blanks in their investigation.
 
The former Transportation secretary said they are still in the process of establishing the circumstance why San Juan, who reportedly came from California, is currently staying in the posh condo unit.

He added the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Bureau of Immigration (BI) have also been coordinating with the police to profile San Juan.    

The explosion-damaged residential units at high-end condominium Two Serendra in Taguig City, south of Manila, on 31 May 2013. According to news reports, the explosion happened past 8:00 in the ... more 
The explosion-damaged residential units at high-end condominium Two Serendra in Taguig City, south of Manila, on 31 May 2013. According to news reports, the explosion happened past 8:00 in the evening, where at least three people were instantly killed and four others are wounded. President Benigno Aquino III, with Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, were reported to have arrived at the explosion site. (Mike Alquinto/NPPA Images less 
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