Mandaluyong shooting probe: Victim turns into suspect
From victim to suspect.
That’s the twist that emerged in the Eastern Police District’s (EPD) investigation into the Dec. 28 shooting incident in Mandaluyong City that left two people dead and two others wounded after village watchmen and police officers mistakenly fired at a van that they thought was carrying gunmen.
One of the wounded victims ended up being charged with homicide by the EPD’s Special Investigation Task Group Shaw on Tuesday.
In an interview with reporters, Senior Supt. Florendo Quibuyen, Eastern Police District deputy for operations and SITG head, explained that contrary to initial reports, Jonalyn Amba-an, one of the fatalities, was “accidentally shot” by her live-in partner Eliseo Aluad during an altercation the couple earlier had with a group of delivery boys in Barangay Addition Hills.
Amba-an and Aluad were among the seven passengers of a Mitsubishi Adventure van that some watchmen and a responding police team mistook for the getaway vehicle of the assailants who had shot Amba-an in the head during the altercation.
The van, which was actually taking the woman to the hospital, was shot at least 36 times, first by responding barangay tanod and then by a Mandaluyong police team who chased the vehicle up to the corner of Shaw Boulevard and Old Wack Wack Road, Barangay Pleasant Hills, around 10:30 p.m. on Dec 28.
But Quibuyen said: “(Aluad) was the one who killed Jonalyn (Amba-an) based on the Soco (Scene of the Crime Operatives) report and the autopsy examination.”
The official also cited the eyewitness account of Roderick Hipe, a bystander who supposedly saw Aluad shooting Amba-an by accident.
Shot at close range
Amba-an was shot when she intervened and tried to get Aluad’s gun off her partner’s hands, Quibuyen said. At that point, Aluad was exchanging shots with a group of men who were “a few meters away” from the couple, he said, quoting the eyewitness.
The autopsy later showed that Amba-an sustained multiple gunshot wounds, including one in the left side of her head.
Quibuyen noted that Amba-an appeared to have been shot at close range, with the shooter less than a foot away. “If the shot came from the Muslims (referring to the group that had a fight with the couple), would it appear that close?” he added.
In an earlier interview with the Inquirer, Aluad maintained that Amba-an was shot by the men they encountered in Addition Hills. He also assailed the watchmen and the police officers for their misguided operation.
Amba-an’s relatives maintained that Amba-an could still be alive if the police and the watchmen stopped to check first who were in the van instead of shooting right away.
Aluad has asked the Public Attorney’s Office for legal assistance in pressing charges against the police and the watchmen.
He remains confined at the hospital for a scheduled operation on an eye and the face.
Reached for comment on Thursday, his sister-in-law Emma Aluad said the family had yet to inform him of the EPD’s move to charge him for the death of Amba-an.
CCTV shows no gun
“This is very unfair,” she said. “Now it’s him who is at fault. It’s clear in the CCTV (closed circuit television) camera that he was not holding a gun. Maybe the police are now saying this to get back at him, so that the blame will not fall entirely on them and the watchmen, and that the charges against them would not be as serious.”
Meanwhile, Quibuyen said the EPD was still awaiting the results of ballistics and trajectory examinations to determine the extent of the liability of the 10 Mandaluyong police officers and the two watchmen involved in the shooting.
Nine of the officers remain in detention after being charged with homicide for the death of Amba-an and Jomar Hayawon; and with frustrated homicide for the wounds sustained by Aluad and Danilo Santiago.
Senior Insp. Maria Cristina Vasquez, the officers’ team leader who only surfaced a few days after the incident, was still under restrictive custody of the Mandaluyong police pending her submission to inquest proceedings, Quibuyen said. – By: Jodee A. Agoncillo