LAOAG CITY ( November 25) – Another bomb scare “rocked” this morning the provincial capitol of Ilocos Norte sending many government employees scampering for safety. It occurred two weeks after a similar bomb threat jolted many court employees, lawyers and clients inside the neighboring Marcos Hall of Justice.
Provincial Planning and Development Officer Engineer Pete Agcaoili had just arrived at the Capitol Bldg. when he got a horrible message from an unknown texter saying: “Sasabog na ang kapitolyo.”
Agcaoili said he initially ignored the message until he got a phone call from the same number. Instead of answering the call, Agcaoili handed over his phone to retired police Inspector Romeo Rumbaoa, chief of the provincial security guards.
Rumbaoa said he reportedly talked to the person on the line who sounded like a female. The caller reportedly repeated what she told Agcaoili that bombs were planted inside the building and the Capitol would explode anytime.
According to Rumbaoa, he asked the caller several questions until he recognized her voice.
“When I told her that I recognized her voice, she immediately hung up the phone,” Rumbaoa said.
Rumbaoa then notified the Philippine National Police about the threat and advised employees to stay out of the building while authorities searched the premises.
During the brief tension, some employees dashed into the different commercial and public stalls around the Capitol while others left their offices and stood at the Capitol grounds.
Policemen searched the offices but found no planted explosives.
Workers returned to their respective offices around 11 am when police authorities had cleared the area.
At this juncture, Gov. Imee Marcos arrived at the Capitol ground and allayed the people’s fear saying the bomb threat probably was an offshoot of her administration’s relentless drive against criminal groups operating in the province.
A similar bomb scare disrupted court hearings and sent home court employees of the Marcos Hall of Justice last November 9.
The threat, which read: “four bombs are planted inside the court building,” was written on a piece of paper found at the building’s ground floor.
Bomb squads searched the area and found no explosives.
Meanwhile, Islam leaders of the Muslim community at Brgy. Uno, this city had disowned any knowledge about the bomb threat at Marcos Hall of Justice.
They reacted to the report that a Muslim name was affixed as signatory in the bomb threat note found in the court lobby that triggered panic at the court building.
“We left our homes in the troubled Mindanao and chose to live a peaceful life in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte. We love peace and act of terrorism is not in our vocabulary,” the Muslim leaders said.