‘Dead or alive’: Hunt on for Army reservist in biker’s slay
The police and the Army are looking for Vhon Tanto, allegedly the pistol-packing motorist who shot a man dead after engaging him in a fistfight Monday night in Quiapo, Manila.
The Manila Police District (MPD) identified Tanto, a 39-year-old Army reservist, as the driver of the Hyundai Eon who killed Mark Vincent Garalde after they had a heated argument and came to blows because the bike-riding Garalde was nearly hit by the suspect’s car.
Tanto was given up to 5 p.m. on Wednesday to appear before the police. The MPD director, Senior Supt. Joel Coronel, said the suspect may bring along a lawyer should he present himself.
But Coronel said they were ready to use force to find Tanto “dead or alive.”
The official said Tanto was being considered “extremely dangerous”.
Tanto, who has yet to surface as of press time on Wednesday, was tagged as the suspect based on eyewitness accounts and security camera videos of the incident on P. Casal Street, according to Senior Insp. Rommel Anicete, the MPD homicide division chief.
Garalde, an e-games outlet attendant and Caloocan City resident, was then passing through the street on his way to work in Sta. Ana, said the case investigator, SP02 Charles Duran, who had spoken with the victim’s sister. He was a father of two.
The shooting also wounded Rosell Bondoc, 18, who was hit in the back by a stray bullet. Bondoc, an orphan and a local government scholar studying at the city-run Universidad de Manila, remained in the intensive care unit of a hospital in Manila, Mayor Joseph Estrada said.
The MPD-Sta. Cruz station commander, Supt. Jackson Tuliao, said Tanto was identified based on the conduction sticker of his vehicle—MO 3745—as captured by cameras installed along Vergara and Fraternal streets.
The MPD described Tanto as an Army reservist with a rank of private, about 5’5” tall and a native of Cotabato City. Sources said he had left his house in Quiapo after the road rage incident.
The suspect allegedly used a .45-caliber pistol. A now-viral video showed Tanto shooting him in the head and firing again even with the victim already down.
The Philippine Army spokesperson, Col. Benjamin Hao, said Tanto is assigned to the Caloocan City-based 101st Camanava Battalion, 1501st Brigade, under the National Capital Region Community Defense Group of the Army Reserve Command.
Tanto is on “ready reserve” status and does not hold any mission order, hence he is not considered on active duty, according to Hao.
Tanto became a reservist in 2014, according to Army records. Hao said Tanto had no government-issued firearm.
The wounded Bondoc “is one of our city scholars, a bright student who has a very bright future ahead,” Estrada said of the victim who lives with her grandmother. Her family would receive assistance from City Hall, he added.
Meanwhile, another motorist, Nestor Punzalan, went to the National Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday to clear his name after social media posts erroneously named him as the shooter. With a report from Faye Orellana and Radyo Inquirer