Labor dispute eyed behind grenade blast in Pangasinan

ALAMINOS CITY, Pangasinan -- The Pangasinan Police is looking into a possible dispute between labor and management as the likely motive behind a grenade explosion that destroyed the rooftop of an establishment along the national highway in Barangay Bolaney at about 10:30 p.m. on Maundy Thursday.

The establishment is located inside the compound of the Tierra Del Norte Realty Corp. owned by one Alex Santos, businessman, fish dealer and fish cage owner in Anda and Sual, Pangasinan and Masinloc, Zambales.

Roel Gapasen Campued, 51, caretaker of Tierra Del Norte Fish Dealer, appeared before the Alaminos City Police on Friday and reported that he was awakened by an explosion the previous night, which he presumed to have been caused by a firecracker. However, when he woke up at about 7 a.m. on April 14, he saw to his surprise fragments of what is believed to be a hand grenade.

The police found a crater created by the explosion and fragments recovered from the area indicated these came from an MK2 fragmentation hand grenade, possibly hurled to the compound.

As a result, the rooftop of the establishment and several gallons of gasoline of still undetermined amount stocked there were burnt and destroyed. No one was hurt in the incident.

Investigators gathered from Campued that a week before the incident, the company terminated the services of several employees.

The sworn statements of six persons who were inside the compound during the explosion were taken by the police while a separate background check and investigation are being conducted on the owner of the establishment.

Local police said they are initially looking into the rift and conflict between the owner and his employee as the possible motive behind the incident.

A list of dismissed employees is being sought by the police from the owner of the establishment.

According to some witnesses, they noticed two Suzuki motorcycle riders to be roaming the area before the incident. They were suspected to be the ones who hurled the fragmentation grenade. (PNA)