‘No New Year’s celebration until we get justice,’ says sister of shooting victim
Jonalyn Anilao should have been manning her sari-sari store on New Year’s Eve, waiting for the “mabentang” araw to pass and return to her family’s house before midnight to share a simple media noche meal.
[Previous reports identified the victim as Jonalyn Ambaon. But her death certificate lists Ambaon sa her middle name and Anilao as her surname. -Ed.]
Instead, the 35-year-old Anilao lies in a casket a few blocks away from their house.
The casket has been inside a multipurpose hall of Barangay Addition Hills since Saturday, two days after she was killed in a shooting incident at the corner of Shaw Boulevard and Old Wack Wack Road.
Her elder sister, Marnie Canoto, sat at corner of Anilao’s wake, noting how “different” their New Year would be.
“Walang magba-bagong taon – wala hanggang hindi namin nakakamit yung hustisya,” Canoto said through her muffled sobbing.
[No one will celebrate New Year, not until we get the justice for her.]
If Anilao were alive, she would reprimand her sister-in-law, Aries Aluad, for not being able to buy all the 13 round fruits on the change of the year.
“She really believes in superstitious and in luck. Eventually we got her habit, but not this year,” Canoto said.
Canoto and her family would be spend the New Year inside the barangay room, devoid of decorations, without any feast.
What gave the room color were the dozens of ribbons – bearing the names of relatives and friends – pinned on the lid of Anilao’s casket.
Anilao, the fourth among eight children, left the mountain town of Alimodian, Iloilo province a decade ago to look for a better job in Metro Manila.
She ended up working in a factory in Taguig. Eventually, she decided to up a sari-sari store with her live-in partner, Eliseo Aluad, in Mandaluyong.
“She was a good and caring sister, a friend to everyone,” Canoto said.
Even her sister-in-law Aries sometimes found it hard to believe how kind Anilao was.
In April 2016, a friend of Anilao’s ran inside their house, seeking refuge because a man wanted to beat him up after a hotly constested game of “cara y cruz.”
“She went outside with my brother and they cofronted our angry neighbor – and successfully convinced him to stop,” Aries said.
“Bakit kasi siya palagi siyang umaawat sa away ng iba? Eh di sana buhay pa siya,” she added.
[Why did she have to always be the one to settle fights? She would probably still be alive.]
For her family, Anilao would have been spared on the night Dec. 28 had she not stopped a argument about parking between the group of his live-in partner Eliseo and a group of delivery boys led by a certain Abdurakaman Alfin.
Anilao had already pacified the two groups. But then, one of Alfin’s companions, Salam Abdul Majid, returned with a gun and fired at the couple’s group.
Anilao was hit in the head.
Still her relatives felt her chance of survival was high.
“She talked to us and told us she was shot and we needed to take her to the hospital,” Aries said.
The woman was brought inside a Mitsubishi Adventure van and was supposed to be rushed to the nearest hospital.
On reaching the corner of Shaw Boulevard and Old Wack Wack Road, however, barangay watchmen started firing at the van.
Moments after, nine members of Police Community Precinct 1 (PCP 1) of the Mandaluyong City Police Station joined in the shooting.
At the end of the one-sided shooting, Scene of the Crime Operatives found at least 36 gun shells and two dead people – Anilao and Jomar Hayawun, a construction worker.
Eliseo and the van driver, Danilo Santiago, had several gunshot wounds and were taken to a nearby hospital.
“She was alive. She just needed to go to the hospital,” Canoto said. “Why did they fire so much? Why did they continue firing even if they said it was an emergency? Why did they fire even if those inside had no guns?”
Police admitted there was an “overkill.”
Meanwhile, three agencies had started investigating the incident – Internal Affairs Service of the Philippine National Police, the National Bureau of Investigation, and the Commission on Human Rights.
The Mandaluyong police chief, Senior Supt. Moises Villaceran, was relieved of his post.
Placed under restrictive custody and disarmed was the PCP 1 chief, Senior Insp. Maria Christina Vasquez, and nine of her officers.
Two Barangay Addition Hills watchmen, Ernesto Fajardo and Wilmer Duron, denied firing at the van.
The third watchman, Gilberto Gulpo, is still at large.
As of Sunday, only the barangay watchmen were facing complaints of homicide and frustrated homicide.
The group of delivery men also surrendered to authorities, except for the alleged gunman, Majid, who is still at large as of Sunday.
Relatives of Anilao, however, were keen on pressing charges against all of those involved in “the senseless killing.”
Anilao’s wake in Mandaluyong might last for a week or two, Canoto said.
“We won’t bring her back in Iloilo with our parents as long as charges had not been filed against all those who killed my sister,” Canoto said.
“Kahit anong ihingi ng tawad nila, hindi na nila maibabalik ang kapatid ko,” she added.
[No matter how much they apologize, it won’t be enough to bring my sister back to life.]
She appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte and Director General Ronaldo “Bato‘ dela Rosa, the PNP chief, to “use their power to get those barangay watchmen and policemen out of their jobs.”
“When we let them be, they may just do again what they have done to my sister. That violence needs to stop,” Canoto said.
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