MANILA (UPDATE) - Two people died while two others were injured after policemen and village guards mistakenly fired at the wrong vehicle in Mandaluyong City late Thursday, authorities said.
The law enforcers mistook an AUV that was carrying shooting victim Jonalyn Amba-an for the getaway vehicle of her assailant, said Senior Supt. Moises Villaceran Jr., Mandaluyong City police chief.
Amba-an was shot in the head at a construction site in Addition Hills earlier Thursday. She expired at the hospital while her companion, construction worker Jomar Hayawon, died on the spot.
Two others were wounded, Amba-an's live-in partner, Eliseo Aluad and the AUV driver, Danilo Santiago, police said.
The village guards (barangay tanod) claimed they traded gunshots with the AUV occupants at the corner of Shaw Boulevard and Old Wack-Wack Road. Police followed the village guards' lead, said Villaceran.
"Ang akala ng mga tanod ito ang bumaril, kaya ang ginawa nila hinabol nila, pinutukan. Pagdating ng pulis, ang akala ng pulis natin kasama ito sa mga bumaril doon, ‘yung tinuturo ng tanod," he said.
(The tanods thought they were the assailants that's why they fired at them. When the police arrived, they tanods pointed them to the vehicle.)
Police investigators did not find firearms at the victim's vehicle, which was riddled with bullet holes.
The victims tried opening their vehicle door and shouted that they were in an emergency but this did not stop the gunfire, according to one of their kin.
"Pagkatapos hinatak sila pababa parang baboy. Alamin niyo muna kung tama yung hinahabol niyo bago niyo paputukan," a sibling said.
(They were dragged like pigs. Know first who you are running after before firing.)
Three men who accompanied the victims onboard the AUV were placed under police custody: Ruel Distor, Simeon Lumbao, and Mhury Jomar.
Two village guards and 9 mobile patrol policemen who responded to the incident were also taken into custody, Villaceran said. They will be investigated and will undergo paraffin tests. They could face criminal and administrative charges, he said.
VILLAGE GUARDS MISLED
Villaceran said the village guards were reportedly misled by a group who earlier quarreled with the victims.
"Yung mga suspek daw sumakay sa Adventure na puti at tumakbo. Unknowingly, hindi pala alam ng barangay na nag-away itong grupong dalawa," he said.
(They were told that the suspects boarded a white Adventure vehicle and escaped. The village guards did not know that these 2 groups were quareling.)
But according to the survivors who spoke with Villaceran, they thought the village guards came to assist them, but they were instead shot.
While the village guards fired first, Villaceran said policemen should have held off until it was necessary.
"Hindi pa rin pwede po basta-basta pumutok without knowing sino ang target person natin. Baka yung kalaban natin may kakayahang lumaban pa o malay mo sumuko na siya," he said.