A member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and a village watchman were killed in a shooting on Saturday night in Barangay Pandanan, Laua-an, Antique, Lt. Col. Sisenando Magbalot Jr., commanding officer of the Philippine Army's 61 Infantry Battalion, confirmed on Monday (Feb. 25, 2019). (Photo by Ma. Leonora Estanque)
ILOILO CITY – A member of the Philippine Army's 61st Infantry Battalion (61IB) and a village watchman were killed in a shooting in Laua-an, Antique on Saturday night.
Killed were Pfc. Kim Jeson Cordero, 24, of Lanao del Sur and village watchman Jeorge Lavega, 40, of Barangay Virginia, Laua-an, Antique.
Lt. Col. Sisenando Magbalot Jr., commanding officer of 61IB, said Cordero was in a drinking binge with Pfc. Jason Espiel of Surigao del Sur and two others at their bunkhouse in Barangay Pandanan to celebrate a colleague’s birthday when the incident happened.
Lavega, along with his cousins Gilbert Necor, Christopher Lavega and Jeoffrey Legaspi, passed by the bunkhouse and started shooting at around 8:45 p.m.
The guard on duty, whom Magbalot failed to name, retaliated and shot Lavega to death.
Cordero, who suffered two gunshot wounds in the back, was rushed to the hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival, Magbalot said.
Meanwhile, Espiel sustained a gunshot wound in the right hip and is now in stable condition.
The Laua-an municipal police arrested Necor, who yielded a .357-caliber revolver, while Christopher Lavega and Legaspi remained at-large.
Magbalot said the victims knew the four men, who are all from Barangay Virginia, Laua-an.
“The soldiers secure an ongoing road construction in the area under the Critical Infrastructure Protection and Security Operation. They go around and transfer from one community to the other after a week or two thus, the cousins were apparently known to them,” Magbalot said in a phone interview on Monday.
He said the suspects might have held grudge against soldiers since they were reprimanded for carrying firearms in December.
Although Cordero and Espiel were off duty during the incident, Magbalot clarified that the soldiers “are not supposed to be drinking or in that activity because they are in [an] operation.” (PNA)