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1 dead, 2 hurt in shooting at disputed Bataan checkpoint

/ 08:39 PM June 09, 2019
Hermosa police at shooting site

A police vehicle from the Hermosa Municipal Police Office parked near the site of the shooting. (Photo by GREG REFRACCION / Inquirer Central Luzon)

HERMOSA, Bataan, Philippines — A 25-year-old electronics technician, who was scheduled to leave for Taiwan in July, died shortly after being shot during an altercation over a checkpoint at a disputed property in Barangay Sumalo in this town on Saturday.

Police said Jonathan Christopher Villete died while being taken to Bataan Peninsula Medical Center in nearby Dinalupihan town due to gunshot wounds in the face.

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Injured were Elmer Bautista, 54, a village watchman, and his son Elmer Bautista, Jr., 21. The two were taken to Bataan Provincial Hospital in Balanga City.

The suspected gunman, Titanic Mystica, 59, a communications officer of the Riverforest Development Corp. (RDC), owner of the land, had already been arrested.

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The RDC has been planning to develop the 200-hectare property, filing an eviction case against the villagers at a local court.

Rolando Martinez, chairman of Barangay Sumalo, said the three villagers argued with the RDC security guards who put up a checkpoint going to the barangay.

Martinez said the residents questioned the legality of the checkpoint, which reportedly angered the security guards who shot at the victims.

But the RDC, owned by the Litton Family, said it was their security personnel who had been assaulted.

The RDC condemned the incident. But said the three men — armed with 9-mm pistols, knives, and batons — “trooped to our guards manning the boundary of our property.”

The property was being scheduled for distribution by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to 200 beneficiaries when the altercation broke out, Martinez said.

The DAR has revoked conversion of the land occupied by RDC from agricultural to industrial despite previous certifications and decisions made by other agencies.

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On Jan. 15, the Office of the President junked RDC’s petition to develop the land.

(Editor: Alexander T. Magno)

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TAGS: Bataan checkpoint shooting, Jonathan Christopher Villete
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