Bomb Threat Disrupts Hearings at Cebu Courts; Judges Postpone Proceedings on 200 Cases

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CEBU CITY - At least 200 cases scheduled to be heard yesterday at the Palace of Justice were postponed and several employes were forced to vacate the area due to a bomb threat that turned out to be a hoax.

Among the court hearings that were postponed was the parricide case filed against cult leader Ruben Ecleo Jr.

Although police and Palace of Justice officials refused to give comment on the alleged participation of Ecleos followers in the threat, sources said it was possible that members of the Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association (PBMA), a Surigao-based cult, were out to disrupt the hearing.

Immediately after he was informed of the bomb threat, Executive Judge Pampio Abarintos ordered the postponement of the hearings on all the court salas in the Palace of the Justice and told employes to abandon the building at past 9 a.m. yesterday.

Angel Gaviola, director of the Region 7 Office of the Civil Defense (OCD), said a Tagalog-speaking man called up his office early yesterday morning, informing him that a bomb has been placed at the left wing of the Palace of Justice located behind the Cebu Provincial Capitol building.

The caller told one of my staff that a bomb has been placed at the Palace of Justice and directed that the building must be vacated so that only a few will die in the explosion, said Gaviola, who immediately notified the authorities. …