Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Sunday called on the government’s intelligence agencies to step up after two blasts rocked Quiapo on Saturday afternoon, a little over a week after an explosion in the same neighborhood injured 14 people.
Two people were killed and another four were injured in the Saturday incident, which occurred around 5:50pm on Gunao Street, followed by another explosion on Norzagaray Street around 8:30pm the same day.
“I sympathize with the victims and commend policemen for their quick response. But I am wondering where the intelligence agencies are. Preventing these explosions is their job”, said Pimentel.
The Philippine government has multiple intelligence agencies, such as the intelligence units of the Philippine National Police, the National Bureau of Investigation, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines, among others.
Pimentel said, “We set aside a lot of money for intelligence agencies. If they can’t prevent these explosions, I expect that at the very least, they [the intelligence agencies] can catch the culprits and prevent things like these from happening again.”
He added that he wants to hear explanations from intel agencies and not excuses.
Pimentel said, “I want them to account for every peso that was allocated to them, and give me a very good reason for this failure of intelligence on their part.”
The senator, who as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights in the 16th Congress pushed for the NBI Modernization Law, said that he was willing to call on the heads of these agencies to help them with additional funding for training, equipment, and operations if that is what is needed for preventing tragedies like Quiapo from happening again.
But Pimentel warned, “If they say that they do need additional funds, they must produce results from the billions already given them and not ask for more money only to have no improvement still.”
Aside from the bombings in Quiapo, the New People’s Army also attacked three facilities of Lapanday Foods Corporation on April 29 in Davao City, causing the company an estimated ₱2 billion in losses.