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Bagacay shooting target surfaces, tags politics behind slay attempt

Rommel L. Rutor (The Freeman) - March 23, 2016 - 10:00am

CALBAYOG CITY, Philippines — The purported target of last March 5 shooting incident at Bagacay in this city — the stray bullets of which resulted in the death of 14-year-old Angel Baylon and the wounding of a 12-year-old girl — has claimed that politics could be the motive behind the attempt to kill him.

The supposed target, who finally surfaced to air his side, was identified as Jimboy Tomnob. He said: "One month before that Saturday, they have been seeing me in San Jose and were insistent that I should jump ship and join them as political organizers of the LP, but I consistently rejected them because I am already a committed organizer for the NP.”

Tomnob sustained a gunshot wound in his right fore-arm when fired upon by the assailants, but was able to run and hide, and later walked through the beach and then went by himself to the Calbayog District Hospital to get his injury treated.

However, the two girls who were hit by stray bullets were not as lucky as Tomnob. Baylon, who was hit on the head died a couple of days after the shooting, while the other girl was critically injured when hit on her chest.

Tomnob narrated to The FREEMAN what transpired that time: "There were three of them sir. I was about to go out by the gate and three girls passed by me in opposing direction, and just as they were at my back, suddenly I heard the gunshots from that person (gunman) who alighted from one motorcycle. I was hit in my hands, and I scampered away upon seeing that another person was aiming a handgun at me. Then I saw a girl was already down and I almost stepped on her."

Tomnob added that fear gripped him so he decided to immediately leave for Manila after receiving medical treatment in Tacloban City. But he said he had been haunted by guilt when he learned that the girl he saw lying on the ground when he was trying to escape from the gunmen, died.

"I was told that some people are trying to twist the story, that accordingly I took one of the girls as shield. There's no truth to that. The girls were already behind me when they (attackers) started shooting. But yes I did run towards the resort to hide in a safer place," Tomnob added.

He also clarified he was not familiar with the families of the two girls and, although he opted not to return to Calbayog City because of fear for his life, he changed his mind amid the criticisms he had been getting.

Tomnob on March 16 filed at the Calbayog City Prosecutors Office charges of frustrated murder against four persons. "I made my choice and I am ready to face them, even if they are followers of the mayor, to give justice to what they have done to me and also for those innocent girls," he said.

Tomnob clarified that political mistrust, his being in a state of shock and the fear gripping him during those moments made him decide not to participate in the initial investigation.

The Calbayog PNP earlier noted that Tomnob was hesitant to talk to probers about the incident at the hospital. A copy of the police Progress Report stated that he instead kept on pointing to his injured forearm as an alibi not to talk with the police.

Further, the police report also said Tomnob was a suspect in the December 14, 2014 shooting-to-death of a certain Jonathan Balentino at Barangay San Jose, this city, and that the target victim is now out on bail because of the homicide charges borne out from that incident.

The same report stipulated that Tomnob was being dragged into the February 22, 2016 killing of one Joseph Jalayahay, also in the same village, with the charges still pending at the prosecution level. (FREEMAN)

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