Tuesday, October 23, 2007


So it was a gas leak, after all, says the PNP investigating team, and not a bomb that did it. I suppose we can all rest easy now. The terrorists aren't after us, after all; it was just the combined effusion of human excrement and diesel that did it.

It's not that I discount the possibility, however remote, that this fatal mix should rip apart a concrete floor and tear through three stories of steel and cement. After all, it's an old geek adage that, given sufficient angle and launch velocity, pigs can fly.

It's just that, coming in after four days of nail-biting speculation, it's just so...convenient. And this whole incident has "convenience" written all over it.

In the first place, the explosion happened on a Friday afternoon, coinciding with the downtime of most television network news coverage. In the Philippines, weekend coverage is usually sparse, unless it's in the order of magnitude of a coup d'etat. You can get away with almost anything on a Friday and come out smelling like roses on Monday.

And indeed, coverage of the aftermath was sparse, due in no small part to the absence of concrete information from investigators.

Just about the only peep we heard over Saturday was the mysterious phone call and text messages purportedly from the Rajah Solaiman Group, stepping forward to claim responsibility for the attack. Ultimately it was proven false, but I don't think it had much credence to begin with. Why? Because the knee-jerk reaction of a large segment of the population was that the explosion was the doing of the government.

Really, why shouldn't it? This administration has cried wolf one time too many. Every time there's a hint of a brewing scandal -- more often than not of its own doing -- a convenient security alert usually follows.

Now is it just me or did the whole thing feel like a typical trial balloon that this administration is so well known for? You've seen it happen so many times before. A government lackey says something, then they wait for public reaction, and when it turns out negatively (as it often does), they quickly beat a hasty retreat.

And when they couldn't muster public panic to replace public outrage, and with no credible patsy to pin it on, come Monday morning it turns out to be a gas leak. How convenient!

But maybe I'm just reading too many conspiracies into this.

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