21 bullets hit Calbayog City mayor’s upper body alone, his son says

Published March 11, 2021, 4:27 PM

by Aaron Recuenco 

Calbayog City Mayor Ronald Aquino suffered 21 bulletwounds just in the upper part of his body during the March 8 encounter with policemen, his son disclosed on Thursday, March 11.

In an interview over Teleradyo, Mark Aquino said some of the bullets hit his father in the head and in the chest.

“A total of seven people fired their guns at my father using high-powered firearms, including those who approached my father for the finishing shots,” said Aquino.

He said there were actually three waves of of gunfire, the first was when four of those on board the van went out and emptied the bullets of their high-powered firearms followed by another burst of gunfire from three others. The last wave was the finishing shots which were seen in some video footages now circulating in the social media.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has been insisting that it was not an ambush and it was actually the group of Aquino who fired the first shot.

Aside from Aquino, his driver and security aide, a police sergeant, were killed. On the side of the policemen, Capt. Joselito Tabada, the chief of police of Gandara, Samar and concurrent head of the Samar Drug Enforcement Unit, and another staff sergeant were killed. A civilian who was caught in the crossfire also died.

But Aquino said it was impossible that it was the security of his father who fired the first shot since they were already hit and were immobilized during the first wave of the gunfire.

“Yung Papa ko po ang nakaganti. Yung personal aide niya, tinamaan na kase sa ulo (It was my father who was able to fire back. His personal aide was already hit in the head),” said Aquino.

During that time, Aquino was at the second row of the van while his personal security was seated beside the driver. It appeared to be the reason why some of those policemen, as seen in the viral video, made the finishing shots on Aquino. Right after the last wave of gunfire, Aquino said witnesses quoted some of them checking on the van and confirmed the death of the mayor.

Aquino also claimed that there was a vehicle that appeared to be waiting near the bridge before the encounter. He added that they were seen wearing their bonnets when his father’s car was already approaching.

“They (policemen) are not from Calbayog City… If the operation was indeed legitimate, why did they hide when the local police arrived?,” said Aquino.

Based on the initial result of the investigation of the PNP, the policemen from the Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group (IMEG) and the Samar Provincial Drug Enforcement Unit were on their way to an inspection site as part of the efforts to strengthen the police defense against any communist rebel attacks.

But on their way, they were allegedly fired upon by the group of Mayor Aquino after they were mistaken to be suspiciously tailing the van. It was then that the shootout erupted.