By Malu Cadelina Manar
KIDAPAWAN CITY – Unidentified gunmen shot and critically wounded a village chair in Magpet town in North Cotabato, past 9 a.m., Tuesday, police officer said.
Chief Inspector Jose Molina, chief of the Magpet PNP, identified the victim as Ferdinand Cariaga, chairman of Barangay Sallab, Magpet.
Molina said Cariaga, onboard a motorcycle, was on his way to the town center to attend the Municipal Peace and Order Council (MPOC) meeting called for by Mayor Florenito Gonzaga when the ambush took place.
Molina said the victim, although still conscious after the ambush, failed to identify his attackers.
Cariaga sustained wounds on his chest, stomach, and thigh, according to an initial data the police gathered from the Kidapawan Medical Specialist Hospital (KMSCI).
Molina said around 10 a.m., Cariaga underwent surgical operation and is still being observed by his attending physicians, especially on his vital signs.
“We are hoping Chairman Cariaga survives this attack,” said the town police chief.
Molina has yet to know the motive behind the ambush and to find out if it was orchestrated by an armed threat group operating in Magpet.
A month before the ambush, Cariaga figured in a controversy when the pistol he was holding during the flag ceremony in front of the Magpet town hall went off and halted the singing of the national anthem.
Police later found out Cariaga’s firearm was unlicensed, yet no case has been filed against him.
Molina was even ordered to submit to the Cotabato Police Provincial Office an in-depth report about the incident.
But after everything has been said and done, Cariaga remained scot-free, critics said.