I'VE been covering a conference at the Mandarin Oriental for the past two days so it's only now that I've had the chance to write an entry in my blog. I was particularly looking forward to Friday's ending of the conference which would allow me to enjoy to relax and enjoy a spa treatment in the afternoon. Past one o' clock in the afternoon, however, Charisse, the hardworking director of communications of Mandarin walks by our table and asks if we've heard of the bomb blast in Makati. She said she just got a text message about it. So we all said no but just the same, I checked my two cellphones to see whether I had any SMS about it.
Then in comes the First Lady of Guam, Joann Camacho, on her cellphone talking to someone asking if she was ok and that to come home immediately. We found out later that her daughter had been at Glorietta 2 when the blast ocurred and was showered with splinters. Thank God the kid was alright. Mrs. Camacho was visibly shaken and was hugged tightly by my Guam editor Maureen, assuring her that everything would be okay.
I called this friend of mine who supposedly has contacts with some intelligence sources to find out what was happening but he couldn't give me any details. Of course, no one could say it out loud but the mindset of everyone yesterday was on a terrorist attack. Then I checked the Internet to see whether there were any stories out on the bomb blast already. The initial reports were an LPG tank had exploded. It was clear, later on in the evening, that it was no ordinary LPG tank explosion because of the amount of structural damage the explosion had caused.
I only realized later that I had been going to Glorietta the past two nights because I had to make an emergency purchase of some toiletries, and used part of the mall as a short cut to North Park where I ordered a congee dinner for those two nights. Man, what a difference a day or two makes.
This may sound bitchy but I'm sorry, I really don't have any respect for Ayala Land management at all, especially after my stuff was stolen while walking in the Activity Center last year. To me, the company's security measures have been nothing but posturings and projections. They had sniffer dogs supposedly, but really, there were not a lot of security officers patrolling around. Most of them were just posted at the entrances of the mall watching out for what? Do these people actually know what a bomb looks like? Do they know what suspicious characters look like or act?
When I fell victim to petty thievery last year, there was no effort to even check the closed circuit cameras around the area until I asked, and even then, Ayala Land got back to me after a month. You think anything will turn up from their security tapes this time because of the blast? I highly doubt that. Even previous to my experience, there were already reports going around of thieves in the mall but it didn't look like management beefed up its security. They didn't even know how to deal with my case when I first reported it to the nearest security guard I found. So what drills is Jaime Ayala talking about? If you look at the videos posted on the Internet, there was no effort from mall security to actually cordon off the area as you could see people lazily even walking around. The first order of business should have been evacuate, and seal the area. Yet there were people just taking photos and videos from their camera phones, or just basically hanging about!
Customers pay a lot for the prices on goods bought at this mall but get very little security in return. While Ayala Land management will expectedly say that it was an accident and nobody wanted the blast to happen, it cannot shirk away from its responsibility of securing its tenants (who pay very high rental fees) and its patrons. How funny that they say there was no security lapse. Obviously there was otherwise, how could the bomb or bombs be snuck in? Magic? Teleportation? Beam me up Scotty! No matter who the culprit is (and I don't believe for a minute it's the handiwork of terrorists), Ayala Land clearly has culpability in this matter. If I were a tenant at this mall, I'd demand a refund from mall management equivalent to the opportunity losses I suffered yesterday.
Even before Sen. Trillanes pointed his fingers at the Presidentita GMA and her henchmen being behind the Glorietta blasts, the man on the street and your friendly neighborhood cab drivers were already thinking the same. I spoke to a few later in the evening. Pinoys aren't stupid although our politicians make us out to be. (If this was the handiwork of terrorists, by yesterday evening, they would have claimed responsibility for the blast already because they are a proud bunch.)
Of course you can say it's just another conspiracy theory but really, the public, especially the masa have come to distrust the Presidentita and her people. We can't put anything past her. Almost everyone believes she is capable of doing anything just to perpetuate herself in power and refocus the public's attention away from her government's latest foibles. As usual, the Presidentita's text brigade (Hello NTC: Check out 0905-346-8994) is actively trying to spin the bombings against her critics especially politicians in the opposition. While she tells them to stop politicking and taking advantage of the incident, her handlers are doing it for her. Amateurs talaga!
UPDATE: This statement is no surprise. I'm just amazed at how long it took Esperon and company to say it and blame everyone they could think of. Gads, Presidentita, san bang kangkungan napulot mo ang mga taong ito?