Pagadian gun attacks rise amid martial law
PAGADIAN CITY — Attacks by motorcycle-riding gunmen here were on the rise amid martial law in Mindanao and no assailant has been caught.
Even motives for the attacks, which have killed or wounded at least six people already since Jan. 18, have remained a big question mark for police.
Supt. Benito Recopuerto, city police chief, said the city police force was doing its best to solve the crimes.
A businessman, who did not want to be identified, said he wondered why assailants were able to commit the crimes with impunity when Mindanao was supposed to be under martial law.
“It would have been easy for police to check on people, especially at night, because they did not need a warrant to do so,” the businessman said.
The latest victim was Elma Malinis Lumacad, a 59-year-old businesswoman, who was wounded when shot by by two motorcycle-riding men past 7 p.m. on Saturday.
Recopuerto said Lumacad was with her husband and were also on a motorcycle on the way to an eatery in the village of Balangasan.
Attack on bridge
As the couple reached the Vicencio Sagun Bridge, they stopped to fix the disc brake of their motorcycle, according to Recopuerto.
It was then that the two assailants, who wore helmets and jackets, approached the couple from behind and repeatedly shot Elma, hitting her in the head, shoulder and leg. The assailants fled unmolested.
PO2 Mizrach Lapid, investigator, said Elma survived the gun wounds and was now in stable condition. But the attack was just among a series of brazen gun crimes committed in the city.
On Feb. 13, a police officer survived an attack also by motorcycle-riding gunmen.
SPO4 Carlos Omentic said he was driving his motorcycle to work around 7 p.m. last Tuesday when he was attacked. He was able to return fire as he ran to the city police station.
Omentic said the attack came as he called his wife while driving to the station because he had left his reading glasses at home.
He was in the middle of the call when two motorcycle-riding assailants approached and one of them started shooting at him. None of the gunmen had been identified.
The attack on the policeman came five days after assailants also on a motorcycle shot 27-year-old tricycle driver, Morsid Maliso, while his 2-year-old son watched.
Maliso had just parked his tricycle in San Francisco district to have dinner with his son when two gunmen arrived and repeatedly fired at him. He died while being treated at a hospital.
On Feb. 6, 70-year-old Marcial Ortega was found dead by his family barely a day after his birthday. Ortega died from multiple gunshot wounds but no one has seen the actual killing.
On Feb. 4, unidentified motorcycle-riding men also shot a 13-year-old boy who was on his way home to the village of Sta. Lucia, from an internet cafe.
Witnesses said the victim, Saidamen Diamla, knelt before the assailants to plead for his life. He was shot just the same.
On Jan. 18, 29-year-old fish port worker, Jovanie Mamawe Ajo, was also shot dead while heading home from a house blessing.
Police chief Recopuerto said the city police force was undermanned. “We have only 172 policemen securing 196,000 people,” he said. —Leah Agonoy
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