MANILA, Philippines — The lax security at the House of Representatives complex in Quezon City made the Tuesday night bomb attack possible, according to a number of congressmen.
Speaker Jose de Venecia himself cited this shortcoming when he addressed the plenary late Wednesday afternoon. â€œThere are many guests who have no business here,â€ he said.
Deputy Minority Leader Roilo Golez of ParaÃ±aque City said the explosion indicated â€œa failure of security.â€
â€œThereâ€™s a need to tighten our security procedures without making the House inaccessible to the public,â€ said Golez, a former national security adviser.
Biliran Rep. Glenn Chiong, a first-termer, said shopping malls had tighter security.
â€œThe first thing I noticed when I first entered the House complex was the lax security. I noticed metered cabs entering without being thoroughly searched, at least even visually,â€ said Chiong, a member of the majority coalition.
â€œTo put it bluntly, mall entrances have tighter security than the Batasang Pambansa gates,â€ he said.
Rep. Mujiv Hataman of the party-list group Anak Mindanao said it was unnerving to think that congressmen were far from safe even in â€œan institution of democracy.â€
Hataman, a minority lawmaker, raised the need to review security measures in the chamber.
Zamboanga del Sur Rep. Antonio Cerilles said it was the first time since the Batasan complex was built in 1970 that such an explosion occurred.
â€œWhat happened [Tuesday] night was meant to … kill as many [people as possible],â€ he observed.
Said Muntinlupa Rep. Rufino Biazon, a vice chair of the House committee on national defense: â€œThe only reason that the perpetrators of the bombing were able to carry out their plan was the loose implementation of security measures.
â€œThe [inspection of persons entering] the premises is lax. The verification of vehicles entering and parking in the compound is lax. There should be more surveillance cameras covering the premises.â€
Laguna Rep. Edgar San Luis agreed that just about anyone could enter the complex with ease.
â€œOf course, this is the House of the people. But there should be some amount of security,â€ he said.
De Venecia said he would form a small group made up of Golez and the chairs of the House committees on defense and on public order that would coordinate with the chamberâ€™s sergeant-at-arms and police and military leaders.
â€œWe need to review and tighten security arrangements,â€ the Speaker said.