By Jel Santos, Francis T. Wakefield, Jerry J. Alcayde, Charina Clarisse Echaluce, and Lyka Manalo
A teenager in Malabon was hit in the head by a stray bullet only minutes before the New Year.
Police identified the victim as Emelyn V. Calano, 15, a scholar of a private school in Malabon City in Metro Manila.
Investigation showed that Calano was outside their house at about 11:50 p.m. to celebrate New Year on Sacristia Street in Barangay San Agustin, Malabon.
Sr. Supt. John Chua, Malabon Police chief, said that the victim was with her friend when she was hit by a stray bullet while texting.
“I wish December 31 had never come,” wailed Marilyn Villanueva, mother of Emelyn. “We were welcoming the New Year, we were happy and then that happened.”
A teary-eyed Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial said: ‘This is our saddest news for the New Year. She is doing well in school and has a great future ahead.”
Chua said that responding policemen found the man identified as “Pat” who was allegedly being targeted by a gunman that night. Pat told probers that he was able to evade the bullet aimed at him by the gunman.
Calano was rushed by concerned citizens to the Pagamutang Bayan ng Malabon, but due to the severity of her condition she was later transferred to the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center around 1 a.m.
But Director Oscar Albayalde, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), clarified that local investigators have confirmed that Villanueva was not a victim of indiscriminate firing, but a stray bullet meant to target another resident of Barangay San Agustin.
Chief Insp. Kimberly Molitas, NCRPO spokesperson, said Villanueva was apparently hit by a bullet that was supposed to be for her neighbor.
“We already have the supposed target of the attack. We are getting statements in order to clear things up on this case,” said Molitas.
Based on the PNP data from last December 16 to January 1 this year, 19 cases of illegal discharge of firearms were reported nationwide, most of them are in Ilocos Region, Metro Manila and Cordillera Administrative Region.
Police also reported 12 stray bullet incidents, half of them is in Metro Manila followed by three from Central Visayas.
In that figure, nine people suffered injuries – one of them died while the rest were injured. The lone fatality was reported in Metro Manila.
A total of 15 people were arrested for firing their guns, one of them is a policeman and one is a soldier. The rest are civilians.
Dela Rosa said the policeman who fired his gun is now facing summary dismissal proceedings.
One of them was a 29-year-old police officer arrested and disarmed of his service pistol in the heat of the New Year’s Eve revelry in Tondo, Manila.
The lawman was identified as PO1 Daniel Castillo, a resident of Welfareville in Mandaluyong City, and presently assigned at Gagalangin Police Community Precinct (PCP) of Manila Police District Station 1.
Probers said PO1 Castillo was drunk when he pulled out his service firearm and pulled the trigger at 11:50 p.m. He was later nabbed by fellow police officers from the Gagalangin Police Community Precinct.
In Quezon City, a 17-year-old male teenager is now in the hospital after he was hit by a stray bullet while watching the New Year fireworks celebration along a street in Quezon City, early Sunday morning.
Reports reaching the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) Batasan Police Station 6 (PS-6) identified the victim as Leo Mark Aquino, 17, single, student, and a resident of 21 Puok Pag-asa, Brgy. Batasan Hills, Quezon City.
Police operatives also arrested Jaime Pabua, 49, MIG (Military Intelligence Group) civilian agent, native of Tutubigan, Catbalogan, Eastern Samar and a resident of 153 Puok, Pag-asa, Brgy. Batasan Hills, Quezon City for illegal possession of firearm.
3 Army soldiers nabbed
In Calapan, Oriental Mindoro, three Philippine Army soldiers were arrested by the police for firing their firearms during the New Year’s revelry in Mansalay town. They were identified as Pfc. Kevin Fajilagutan, Pfc. Leonard Magro and one unidentified soldier, all belonging to the 4th Infantry Battalion of 203rd Brigade of the Philippine Army. Injured was Nymar M. Villanueva, 27, a resident of the same barangay.
In Narvacan, Ilocos Sur, two male civilians – Gerald Arconado, 36, a businessman, of 267 Capaoayan, Moncada, Tarlac and one Ronald Datugan, a security person of unknown personality, of Brgy Sucoc, Narvacan, Ilocos Sur – were arrested after they were accused of indiscriminate firing in Narvacan.
Recovered from the suspects was a .9 mm Ruger Pistol owned by Arconado.
In Villasis, Pangasinan, the provincial health office reported that one person, still unidentified, was injured due to a stray bullet fired by an unknown gunman yesterday morning.
In Batangas, Zenaida Gonzales, 56, was watching television inside her home in Lumil, San Jose when she was hit by a stray bullet on her right ear. Report said Gonzales was transferred to Batangas Medical Center from San Jose District Hospital for further treatment. (With reports from Mar T. Supnad, Aaron B. Recuenco and Analou De Vera)