Suspected bomb safely detonated near U.S. Embassy in Manila
Filipino authorities have offered conflicting accounts of what, exactly, was found.
Manila Police District head Senior Superintendent Joel Coronel initially told local press that the item found in the garbarge were just "junk," according to local media reports.
National Capital Region Police Office head, Chief Superintendent Oscar Albayalde, later described it as an "improvised explosive device" with a blasting cap, detonator, cellphone, and a 9-volt battery as power source.
Albayalde speculated there was a link between the device found Monday and a bomb used in a Sept. 2 attack that killed 15 people in the city of Davao. Both included an 81-milimeter mortar shell, he said.
In a press conference, Philippine National Police Chief Ronald Dela Rosa, the face of President Rodrigo Duterte's bloody "war on drugs," also noted that the device was similar to bombs used by the Maute group, an extremist group with links to the radical Islamic State that has been tied to the attack in the city of Davao.
"Unless we get hard evidence, by analysis we can theorize this can be linked to Maute because of what happened in Davao," he said.
Despite the stated lack of "hard evidence," Dela Rosa called Monday's incident an act of "terror" and said he was mulling tighter security measures.
"We will ask mall authorities to also heighten security. We may revive checkpoints," he said.
In recent weeks, Duterte's public comments have raised concerns that he plans to suspend the writ of habeas corpus, or even implement martial law. Dela Rosa denied the bomb scare would be used to justify a crackdown. "For God's sake, the government will not use an incident that will cause panic, fear, and undue harm to declare martial law," he said.
"We won't use our own people just to cause trouble."