Monday, February 2


MANILA, Philippines - A driver of a Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) official was killed while the official's child was wounded in an early morning ambush in Laguna province Monday.

Retired police Superintendent Arturo Castillo said the incident occurred 6:30 a.m. at the corner of Balagtas and Juan Luna Streets in San Vicente village in San Pedro town.

"It was really an ambush. No less than 40 rounds of M-16 were used," Castillo, a resident of the town and a "kumpare" of the MMDA sidewalk clearing operations group head Roberto Esquivel, said in an interview on dzBB radio.

He said the elder Esquivel appeared to be the target of the ambush.

"Siguro napagkamalan si Bobby [Esquivel], binakbakan doon [The gunmen may have thought the elder Esquivel was inside the vehicle, so they opened fire]," he said.

San Pedro town police head Superintendent Ramon Ramirez said that as of 8:30 a.m., they recovered a tricycle supposedly used by the assailants.

The tricycle driver, who he declined to name for the moment, is also undergoing questioning by police investigators, he added.

Ramirez, in a separate interview on dzBB, cited initial testimonies by witnesses indicating at least six suspects staged the ambush.

"Initial investigation gumamit ng tricycle ang mga suspek at pinagbabaril ang Pajero. Ang motive hindi pa natin alam dahil under investigation pa [Our initial investigation showed the suspects rode a tricycle then opened fire on the Pajero. We are still investigating the motive]," he said.

He identified the slain driver as Johnny Agbay, who was killed while still inside the Pajero.

Ramirez said the younger Esquivel, initially identified as Mico (or Nico), was rushed to the Asian Hospital in southern Metro Manila for treatment.

"Pinapuntahan ko sa investigator para malaman ang condition ng bata [I sent investigators there to find out the child's condition]," he said.

Earlier, Castillo cited testimonies by witnesses the men rode in tandem aboard two motorcycles and blocked the path of the white Pajero-type sport-utility vehicle, then opened fire.

He said the gunmen even opened the window of the driver's side door and grabbed the driver by the neck, then finished him off with a shot to the head with cal-.45 pistol.

Castillo said the incident also wounded Esquivel's son Mico, who he described as a high school student being brought to the San Agustin college.

He said that as of 8 a.m., police had cordoned off the ambush site and started hot pursuit operations against the perpetrators. - GMANews.TV

---The son's from my school. He got hit and I feel so sad. Help me in praying for him and his family to be safe. I can totally relate to this. :(