By Jel Santos, Charina Clarisse Echaluce, Martin Sadongdong, Francis Wakefield and Aaron Recuenco
Three minors in Metro Manila were hit by stray bullets amid the 2017 revelry, with one of them fighting for her life in the hospital.
In Malabon, 15-year-old Emilyn Villanueva Calano is in critical condition after being hit by a bullet outside her house at about 11:50 p.m. on Sacristia Street in Barangay San Agustin.
She was initially rushed to the Pagamutang Bayan ng Malabon until she was transferred to Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center around 1:00 a.m. and is now at the intensive care unit.
Hit in the head
“A stray bullet hit her in the head, which is very damaging to the brain, and is now in a near fatal, critical condition,” health secretary Ubial said in a press conference on Sunday, January 1. “This is our saddest news for the New Year.”
JRRMMC chief Dr. Emmanuel Montaña Jr. said the patient is “in deep coma” and has a “poor prognosis,” with surgery to only worsen her situation.
Health spokesman Eric Tayag called for prayers as the victim needs a “miracle.”
“I am getting teary eyed because she is doing well in school and has a great future ahead. She is a scholar in school. But now this,” said Ubial.
Calano sells fish in the morning and attends classes at night at St. James Academy as a scholar. She dreamed of becoming a chef someday, her mother Marilyn Villanueva told the Manila Bulletin.
“I wish that day had never come. I wish December 30 was longer… I wish December 31 had never come. If I only knew that would happen. We were welcoming the New Year, we were happy and then that happened.”
Marilyn knew of her daughter’s condition when neighbors knocked on her door to say that Emilyn fainted. Marilyn went to sleep that night after being in the market since morning.
Victim of shooting
Neighbor Erlinda Labrador, 52, said she and neighbors thought the child just lost consciousness out of tiredness for selling fish but was alerted when blood gushed from her head.
Senior Supt. John Chua, Malabon Police chief, said the victim, who was with her friend, was texting while waiting for fireworks display when a stray bullet hit her in the head.
Chua added that responding policemen found a man who was allegedly targeted by a gunman that night. The allegedly targeted man was only identified as “Pat,” who told probers that he was able to evade the bullet aimed at him by a gunman.
Reports stated that Pat was living about 500 meters from where Canalo was struck. The incident took place a few blocks away from the Malabon Police Station and the Malabon City Hall.
Her parents want justice. “Please surrender, my daughter is in critical condition,” Canalo’s father Emil said.
“The pain is too much, I felt as if life was taken out of me,” Villanueva lamented.
In Taguig, 10-year-old Gian Penacilla was also hit by a stray bullet while watching fireworks display along Tartaria Street, Barangay Tipas at around 11:00 p.m. of December 31.
The victim sustained a bullet wound in the head and remains under observation at the Rizal Medical Center Hospital in Pasig City.
Superintendent Jenny Tecson, Southern Police District public information officer, said an investigation into the suspect’s identity is ongoing.
Hit on the shoulder
In Quezon City, 17-year-old Leo Mark Aquino was taken by relatives at the East Avenue Medical Center (EAMC) after getting hit by a stray bullet on his left shoulder.
Police Supt. Lito Patay, Batasan PS-6 station commander, said the incident took place at at about 12:45 a.m. of Sunday, January 1 along IBP Road, Pook Pag-asa, Barangay Batasan Hills while Aquino was watching fireworks.
Authorities swooped down on the area and seized Jaime Pabua, 49, an MIG (military intelligence group) civilian agent and native of Catbalogan, Eastern Samar, after receiving reports of a male who discharged his firearm.
Police recovered from him a Colt cal. 45 with one magazine and eight cal. 45 live ammunition. Two cases of fired cartridge were also found in his area.
Police are determining whether the bullet that hit Aquino came from Pabua’s.
More stray bullets
On Thursday, the DOH reported a 27-year-old male from Bagabag, Nueva Vizcaya who was also hit in the head while inside the house on Christmas Day.
The DOH now has four reported stray bullet incidents.
Another stray bullet incident happened in Makati City, where it bore a hole in the roof of a house. No one was reportedly hurt.
Back in Taguig, Marine corporal Lovelyson Larede was caught for illegal discharge of firearm.
PNP data from December 16, 2016 to January 1, 2017 show 19 cases of illegal discharge of firearms reported nationwide, mostly in Ilocos Region, Metro Manila and Cordillera Administrative Region.
Police also reported 12 stray bullet incidents, half of which in Metro Manila followed by three in Central Visayas.
In that figure, nine people suffered injuries, with one in Metro Manila fatally shot.
A total of 15 people were arrested for firing their guns, including one policeman and one soldier.
Dela Rosa said the cop who fired his gun faces summary dismissal proceedings. (With reports from Philippine News Agency)