LUCENA CITY, Philippines – Three workers of the Department of Public Works and Highways in Quezon were killed and four others injured in a shooting in the town of Mulanay Friday night that officials said was perpetrated by a drunken former police taekwondo trainer who resented the bright lights of the workers’ vehicle that shone on him while he and his friends were drinking on a roadside.
Chief Inspector Romulo Albacea, Mulanay police chief, identified the fatalities as Ronald Monterey, Jason Rodelas, and Celso Red. Those injured were identified as Zaldy Prado, Leovino de Galicia, Abraham Almero and Menardo Abella.
Albacea said the shooting happened in Barangay (village) Butanyog at around 10:30 p.m.
“Nakursunadahan lang,” Albacea told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a telephone interview Saturday morning while he and his men were trying to track down the killer, who was identified as Rommel Samadan Rocete, 45-50 years old.
Senior Superintendent Valeriano de Leon, who issued an all points bulletin for the arrest of Rocete, said the man was a former taekwondo instructor at the PNP’s regional training school at Camp Nakar inb Lucena.
An initial police field report to the Quezon provincial police headquarters at Camp Nakar said the victims were traveling in a DPWH vehicle when they stopped at the village of Butanyog for some cigarettes. While some of the victims were buying cigarettes and the others were urinating on the roadside, a man armed with a .45-caliber gun confronted the workers about their vehicle’s bright lights and began firing.
The three fatalities died on the spot, said the report. Police said 14 shells were recovered from the scene.
The gunman escaped on foot in the direction of the nearby town of Catanauan.
The bodies of the fatalities were taken to the St. Clare funeral home in Mulanay while the injured were taken to the Bondoc Peninsula District Hospital in Catanauan for emergency treatement before being transferred to the Quezon Medical Center here.
The seven victims were working on a road repair project in the area and were returning to their home base in the village of Pakiing when they stopped by the store, Mulanay Mayor Tito Ojeda told the Inquirer in a telephone interview Saturday.
Albacea said the gunman was drinking liquor with two companions at the roadside near the store when the DPWH vehicle arrived. The man was irked by the vehicle’s bright headlights, he added.
Almero, one of those injured, said they apologized to the man but he shot them nonetheless.
Ojeda, who stood at a sponsor at Rocete’s wedding, described him as “a person with a disturbed mind.”
He said five years ago, Rocete tried to kill his own parents in an act that forced them to leave town, and they have been in hiding from Rocete since.
Another source said Rocete used to boast he was a “military asset.”
Originally posted at 09:27 am | Saturday, December 01, 2012