Oct 23, 2007

[Philippines] Glorietta: Now Just an Accident?

Flickr: loverfishy - Oops!
by loverfishy.

The on-going investigation of the Glorietta 2 bombing accident incident is enough to confound the best thinkers and news watchers among us. After the initial bold statement last Friday that the cause of the blast was a bomb, the investigation has moved more towards this being some sort of industrial accident, which brings the "blame" back on the Ayala Malls administration.

What's up with that?

Admittedly, I initially had my hesitations about the whole bomb thing. While the scene itself did make me think that it was too strong to be just some ordinary LPG fire, the lack of other concurrent events like a strong public statement from one of the local terrorist groups or perhaps other attacks / bombings at other place. Also, the date didn't make sense - even if it were targeting the barangay elections (and who the heck targets that on the national level?), it was pretty far from the actual event.

Investigators are currently looking at the fact that (1) the blast started from an underground tool room that contained septic tanks and diesel tanks, (2) there is no blast crater from a bombing perspective, (3) there are hardly any traces of nitrates in the area and (4) evidence of RDK alone isn't enough to indicate a bomb depsite some earlier reports. More and more this seems a lot less like some horrible terrorist attack and more and more like something you'd see featured on Seconds from Disaster.

The PNP is making a pretty good case for some sort of gas explosion, which theorizes a build-up of methane gas in the basement, a significant enough rise in temperature and so on and so forth.

Of course this is where the conspiracy theorists will enter and challenge that this is all a government plot to draw attention from the Administration's never ending issues, which while possible seems just a bit to contrived to be believed fully. While I don't totally discount the possibility that GMA is capable of invoking a sort of Swordfish scenario in using acts of terrorism to somehow "protect" the State, this just doesn't make 100% sense in that regard. GMA for all her faults is a lot smarter than that and if she were going to use terrorism as a tool for managing public opinion, then she would have used a more symbolic event, something that would strike a true chord with everyone. This incident is rather ineffective as a political tool since it lacked symbolic value, of course not discounting the loss of life, mind you.

Bombing or accident? Who can say really while the investigation is officially tagged as on-going. For now I'll try to remember to refer to this whole thing as just an "incident" for now until the investigation's findings are final. This is still a tragedy, don't get me wrong. However we need to know what kind of tragedy it is first.

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