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Glorietta

Glorietta is a large shopping mall in the Ayala Center in Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines. The mall is owned by the Zobel de Ayala family and it's holding company, Ayala Corporation. The mall is divided into four sections (named Glorietta 1-4) and contains many shops and restaurants, as well as cinema screens, a gym, arcades and a large central atrium often used to stage special events. It has an activity center, located at the heart of the mall. It is also integrated between Greenbelt Mall, SM Makati, Rustan's Makati and The Landmark, a department store. Ayala Center is planning to construct Glorietta 5, which will be located in front of Hotel Intercontinental Manila and beside Rustans Department Store, as part of the Ayala Land's plan of redeveloping Glorietta. The tenants affected by the October 19, 2007 explosion will be given an option to relocate there.

Incidents

Oakwood Mutiny

On July 27, 2003, Magdalo soldiers led by Lt. Antonio Trillanes took control of the Oakwood apartments in Makati City. Glorietta, where the Oakwood Premier stood, was also closed during the siege.

2000 Glorietta explosion

On May 17, 2000, thirteen people were injured in an explosion at Glorietta. Police said the blast originated from a comfort room of a restaurant and affected a nearby video game arcade (Timezone). Two rival "hip-hop" gangs were seen fighting near the restaurant shortly before the blast occurred.

2005 Valentine's Day bombings

On February 14, 2005, a passenger bus was bombed in Makati City, near Glorietta. Four people were killed and 36 injured. On the same day, a mall in General Santos City and a bus terminal in Davao were also bombed. Abu Sayyaf claimed responsibility, with spokesperson Abu Solaiman saying on a radio interview: “This is our Valentine gift to Gloria.”

2007 Glorietta Explosion

On October 19, 2007, an explosion in Glorietta 2 took the lives of eleven persons and injured a hundred others. Initially, authorities termed it an LPG explosion in a restaurant, but later began investigating the probability that the cause of the explosion was a C4 bomb. The explosion destroyed much of Glorietta 2's main lobby and vehicles parked outside.

Several days later, October 23, 2007, senior government officials expressed "a high level of certainty" that the explosion was an accident , but the bomb theory has not been totally ruled out. This was brought on by the inability of experts to find bomb components after four days of rigorous investigation. It is believed that the explosion was caused by underground structures in the mall that might have triggered the blast, pending further investigation.

Final report and lawsuits

On January 8, 2008, Ayala Land, Inc. (ALI)'s commissioned foreign experts found that the explosion was caused by a bomb with RDX components - cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine (used in military and industrial applications, in C-4, a plastic bomb). On January 10, 2008, Chief Superintendent Luizo Ticman announced that criminal cases of "reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide, physical injuries and damage to property" will be filed against: engineers Arnel Gonzales, Jowell Velvez, and Marcelo Botenes of the Ayala Property Management Corporation, and Candelario Valqueza of the Makati Supermarket Corp.; engineer Clifford Arriola, Joselito Buenaventura, Charlie Nepomuceno, Jonathan Ibuna, and Juan Ricafort of Marchem Industrial Sales and Service Inc.; for violation of the Fire Code: engineer Ricardo Cruz, operations manager of Metalline Enterprises and its foreman, Miguel Velasco; gross neglect of duty causing undue injury: Makati City Fire Station Senior Fire Officer 4 Anthony Grey, SFO2 Leonilo Balais, Senior Inspector Reynaldo Enoc, and Chief Inspector Jose Embang Jr.; Makati City Fire Station chief - "for simple neglect of duty-for failure to review and validate before issuing fire safety inspection certificate.Ticman stated that per final report signed by DILG Secretary Ronaldo Puno - "no bomb components were found at the basement of Glorietta 2 mall; the absence of any crater, bomb/explosive residue, or improvised explosive device in the "seat of explosion; no soot or blackening on the concave ceiling. The Multi-Agency Investigation Task Force final report detailed that the 1st blast was a methane explosion, at 1:31 p.m. as the "gas accumulated after knee-deep water, diesel, human and kitchen waste at the mall's allegedly poorly ventilated basement was left unattended for 76 days"; the 2nd blast was "a diesel vapor explosion, at 1:32 p.m.; the National Bureau of Investigation "identified the possible source of ignition" - the motor control panel of waste pumps two and three at the basement; rise in temperature caused by the methane gas triggered the 2nd explosion. The Australian Federal Police and Powerpoint copy of US ambassador Kristie Kenney's statement confirming the US experts' findings similar to the police's investigation results supported the MAITF's findings. On January 11, 2008, Chief Supt. Luizo Ticman personally filed the complaint against the 15 accused at the Justice Department, Manila.

On January 16, 2008, Kit Collier, an International Crisis Group consultant / international terror and insurgency expert, told foreign media members a the Annual Prospects Forum, Mandarin Hotel, Makati City, that he doubted the delayed final report of the Philippine National Police's findings that Glorietta 2 blast was due to a gas explosion. Kit noted the traces of RDX, or cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine, an explosive component, found in the site. Malaysian expert Aini Ling, commissioned by Ayala Land Inc.'s (ALI) paid investigation, stated in her report, that a bomb caused the explosion, due to RDX traces at the blast site. Meanwhile, Raul M. Gonzalez will conduct the preliminary investigation on the criminal complaints filed by police.

On January 22, 2008, Raul M. Gonzalez absolved Ayala Land, Inc. (ALI) (attached company of holding company for Real Estate Ayala Corporation), from liability in the 2007 Glorietta Explosion. But Gonzalez stated that Ayala Property Management, Inc. (APMC), is still under investigation.

Glorietta 4 Fire

Two days later, October 21, a fire broke out at around noon in the kitchen of one of the restaurants in Glorietta 4. It was put out by firemen an hour later. The authorities announced that this incident was in no way associated with the earlier Glorietta blast. Glorietta 4 was closed, right after this disaster, while the authority said that the open areas that is not affected by the disasters are business as usual.

References

See also

External links

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