“Darling, I’m on my way home.”
These were said to be the last words of a high-ranking school official to his wife on the phone before he was shot dead by motorcycle-riding men as he was driving out of his campus in Manila on Friday night.
Noel Cabrera, executive vice president of Eulogio “Amang” Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology (Earist), was declared dead on arrival at De Ocampo Memorial Medical Center after sustaining four bullet wounds in the back.
Cabrera, 46, was next in line to be the president of the college, which he joined in 2003, according to police.
Homicide investigators of the Manila Police District have yet to establish a possible motive for the killing as of Saturday.
PO3 Alonzo Layugan, the case investigator, said the ambush happened at around 7:15 p.m. on Valencia Street in Sta. Mesa near the Earist compound.
The shooting was witnessed by Cabrera’s colleague, Rolando Peraldo, who was then hitching a ride in the Toyota Avanza being driven by the victim, a resident of Modesta Village in San Mateo, Rizal province.
“Peraldo said Cabrera was speaking to his wife on the mobile phone and had just told her, ‘Darling, pauwi na ako (I’m on my way home),’ when shots rang out,” Layugan told the Inquirer.
Cabrera then reached for Peraldo, who was seated next to him, to tell him that he had been shot.
Peraldo recalled seeing two men on a motorcycle darting past the Avanza after the shooting. By then Cabrera had lost control of the steering wheel and the vehicle had hit the gutter.
Peraldo rushed Cabrera to the hospital with the help of traffic enforcers in the area.
Layugan said he would look at footages from the school’s security cameras to check if they had captured the ambush or could provide any clue to the gunmen’s identities. “But I have to wait till Monday to get the video footage and to talk with people at the school,” he said.
He said he had spoken with the victim’s wife but that she could not give any lead as to who would want her husband killed and why.