2nd victim of New Year shooting dies
A second victim died in the New Year shooting incident where a drunk village watchman opened fire on a group of drinkers early Friday.
John Edward Pascual succumbed to gunshot wounds in the chest and abdomen Saturday morning at Ospital ng Makati, where he was brought together with the other victim, a 7-year-old boy who was hit in the back of the head. The minor was pronounced dead Friday afternoon.
The suspect, Raymundo Liza, has packed up and left his house together with his wife, according to the Taguig police who have taken over the case from the Makati police after jurisdictional matters were cleared up.
Pascual, a resident of Pasay City, was just visiting and having a drink with friends on Bulusan Street, Barangay Southside, when a pistol-wielding Liza fired at the sidewalk gathering around 12:20 a.m. of Jan. 1.
Liza, 42, was reportedly targeting Pascual but a stray bullet also hit Mark Angelo Diego, who was then playing and watching fireworks. Diego’s father Mark Anthony was among the men who were drinking with Pascual.
The boy’s family on Saturday called for the immediate arrest of Liza, who earlier figured in another shooting incident that caused his suspension as a Bantay Bayan member on Dec. 7.
“We will not be at peace until he is put behind bars,” said Elizabeth Diego, the boy’s grandmother (not his aunt, as earlier reported).
“He would always wait for me when I come home from work and ask me for a ‘pasalubong’ (gift),” said Elizabeth, who served as Diego’s mother when his parents separated. “That’s why it is very hard for me to accept that he is gone.”
“He was a fighter. Up to his last breath, we knew that he still wanted to live but his wound was very severe,” Mark Anthony said of his son, a Grade 2 pupil, adding that doctors were unable to extract the bullet from the boy’s skull.
Mark Anthony said he tried to stop Liza in his shooting rampage but the latter was “drunk and very aggressive.” When his son fell to the ground, the boy was still conscious enough to grab his arm, the father recalled.
Liza, a member of the local Bantay Bayan or civilian security unit, fired at least five shots using a .45-cal. pistol, based on the recovered bullet casings. According to his relatives, Liza only borrowed the gun from a cousin.
Elizabeth said Liza had been known for his arrogance and often challenged people to a fight when drunk.
Makati policemen were the first to respond to the incident, thinking it was their area. But in an interview on Saturday, the Taguig police chief, Senior Supt. Arthur Felix Asis, explained that Southside was among the villages subject to a jurisdictional dispute between the two cities.
“Here, the address does not depend on the location but on the people you talk to,” Asis explained. “Despite the confusion, we have taken over the case and interviewed the relatives of the suspect who also live in the area.”
Liza, who lived two houses away from the crime scene, had disappeared together with his wife but his relatives agreed to help the police in tracking him down, the official said.
Charges for two counts of murder await the suspect, Asis added.
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