Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 13:01:00 06/08/2008
NAVAL, Biliran–Two security escorts of Biliran Rep. Glenn A. Chong were killed while another was seriously wounded when they were ambushed Saturday night by four armed men, one of whom was said to be a policeman on active duty at the town’s police.
The father of the congressman, Charlie, who was with the group, was unharmed in the assault done by gunmen on the street fronting the Biliran congressman’s house in this town at around 8 p.m. Saturday.
The lone congressional representative of Biliran was not around when his father and security escorts were attacked.
Representative Chong, reached through his mobile phone, claimed that one of the assailants was identified by their bodyguards as “Saul,” said to be a policeman assigned to the Naval police headquarters. According to Congressman Chong, Saul is already in custody.
The crack of rapid gunfire followed by several more shots broke the peace of the local residents, many of them still eating supper in their homes on Saturday evening.
Congressman Chong identified the two fatalities as Alberto Parilla, a former barangay (village) chairman of Rosario, Naval, who was shot in the abdomen and at the back; and Antonio Barcelo, a cousin-in-law who was hit at the back.
Both were declared dead on arrival by their attending physicians at the provincial hospital here.
Wounded was Jose Casas, a retired policeman, who got shot at the kneecap and was brought to a private hospital in Tacloban City, more than a 100 kilometers away from Naval.
The elder Chong was returning home from his business establishment accompanied by the congressman’s security escorts and had just stepped on the stairs leading to his house on P. Inocentes Street when he heard gunshots.
The shots came from a group of four assailants who were inside an old green Lancer car with plate number NMK 996.
Alberto Jusayan, 52, a Chong security escort who rode on a motorcycle in a convoy with his employer’s Isuzu Highlander, said a man quickly alighted from a waiting car and immediately fired shots at his fellow security escorts.
Upon hearing the shots, he saw Parilla fall on the pavement and called for help. But Barcelo, a retired police officer employed as close-in security escort of Congressman Chong when he is in town, said he had also been hit.
Parilla, first councilor of Barangay Santisimo Rosario here and a close Chong aide, died around 8:30 p.m., followed by Barcelo around 10:30 p.m., at the emergency room of the Biliran Provincial Hospital.
Parilla is the first cousin of former Biliran Gov. Danilo M. Parilla, who was gunned down as he was stepping out of an inter-island ship in Cebu City on Sept. 7, 2006.
Jusayan said the assailant carrying a rifle, perhaps mistaking him for a passerby, shouted at him to “Dapa! Dapa! (Drop down! Drop down!) and fired more shots at the elder Chong and his security escorts..
He confirmed that four assailants were in the ambush car. They did not cover their faces, Jusayan said, but the bodyguard did not know who they were.
Ading Caril, the driver of Chong’s Isuzu Highlander, said a car suddenly stopped near the vehicle he was driving and its passengers quickly alighted and pointed a gun at him and pulled him out of the vehicle.
The assailants used the Highlander as their getaway vehicle.
Rodel Bareja, another security escort of the younger Chong, said he managed to fire four shots at the vehicle grabbed by the assailants but was not certain whether he had shot any of the gunmen.
But a bystander several meters away from the ambush site said that he saw the vehicle rush along P. Inocentes towards the direction of the mountains. He later learned that this was the getaway vehicle.
He heard somebody inside the car that passed him by shouting “may tama ako! (I’ve been hit”) .
Charlie Chong said that he was immediately covered by Joey Ignacio, a security guard stationed at his store, when shots rang out.
He said that when he looked back, he saw a young “military-looking” man holding a rifle. He said he had identified the assailant but would not disclose his name at this time.
The congressman accused his family’s political enemies for the attack and claimed to have received a threatening text message at 4 p.m. Saturday, saying “your misery has just started.”
He also criticized the police provincial director, Senior Supt. Alfredo Sabornido, for doing nothing to solve what he said were a series of harassments staged against their family by their political enemies.
“I don’t trust the PNP anymore, especially Sabornido. I will ask for his head and make sure that he is removed from his post,” Chong said.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer called Sabornido on his mobile phone but he was not taking calls then.
Congressman Chong said his father filed last year a graft case against Biliran Gov. Rogelio Espina with the Ombudsman for allowing the construction of a hotel owned by the family of the governor on a government-owned lot.
Espina could not be reached for comment but a close ally, who declined to be identified, denied any involvement of the governor in the attack.
Congressman Chong said he would get additional security from the military.
Rolando O. Borrinaga and Joey A. Gabieta, with a report from Marlon Mecaral, contributor