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Girl, 15, fights for life after being hit by stray bullet

A 15-year-old girl is fighting for her life after being hit by a stray bullet at the height of the New Year’s revelry in Barangay San Agustin, Malabon.

Emilyn Villanueva Calano, a scholar at the St. James Academy, stepped out of their house while her tired mother was sleeping to watch the fireworks.

Ten minutes before the New Year, Emilyn collapsed with a bullet wound on the head.

Marilyn Villanueva, the 34-year-old mother, was roused from her sleep by frantic neighbors.

“Pagod na pagod ako noon, 11 pa lang ng Biyernes na gabi nasa palengke na ako tapos nakauwi ako mga 8 [p.m.] na…. Nakatulog ako…. May dumaan lang daw na bata tapos bigla na natumba…. Akala nahimatay,” she narrated.

Emilyn was first rushed to the Pagamutang Bayan ng Malabon before being transferred to the Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center (JRRMMC) in Manila at around 1 a.m.

Prognosis is not good.

JRRMMC chief Dr. Emmanuel Montaña, Jr. admitted that it is not looking good for the young girl, adding that surgery could worsen her condition.

“She is currently in deep coma. In truth, we have a poor prognosis of the patient,” said Montaña.

The patient is getting medicines to decompress the brain, anti-brain inflammation, anti-tetanus, and antibiotics, among others, according to Montaña.

“If she survives, the worst thing to happen to her is, she could be like vegetable. She cannot return to her normal life,” the hospital official disclosed.

The victim’s mother was inconsolable.

“Hindi na lang sana dumating iyong araw na iyon. Humaba na lang sana iyong [December] 30…. Sana hindi na lang nag-31.

Kung alam ko lang na ganiyan mangyayari. Sasalubungin mo Bagong Taon, masaya kayo tapos ayon,” said Marilyn.

Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial rushed to the hospital upon learning of the news.

“A stray bullet hit her in the head, which is very damaging to the brain, and is now in a near fatal, critical condition,” said Ubial. “This is our saddest news for the New Year.”

Ubial was emotional after visiting the patient.

“I am getting teary eyed because she is doing well in school and has a great future ahead. She is a scholar in school. But now this,” said Ubial who assured the family of DoH’s help.

Even as this developed, the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) clarified that Emilyn was not a victim of indiscriminate firing.

NCRPO chief Oscar Albayalde said Emilyn was hit by a bullet intended for another person, a neighbor.

“We already have the supposed target of the attack. We are getting statements in order to clear things up on this case,” said Chief Inspector Kimberly Molitas, NCRPO spokesperson.

Albayalde said he had already ordered his men to focus on the case of Villanueva, especially in running after those responsible for the attack.

“Statements from witnesses are being taken to identify the gunman for filing of appropriate cases to the court,” said Albayalde.

In a separate incident, a 17-year-old male teenager was rushed to the hospital after being hit by a stray bullet in Quezon City.

The victim was identified as Leo Mark Aquino, a resident of Barangay Batasan Hills. He was hit in the left shoulder.

Follow-up police operations led to the arrest of Jaime Pabua, a 49-year-old civilian agent of the military intelligence group. Recovered from Pabua was a Colt Pistol Cal. 45 with one magazine and eight Cal. 45 live ammunitions and two fired cartridge cases.

Police are now determining if the bullet that hit Aquino came from Pabua’s gun.
(With reports from Aaron Recuenco, Jel Santos and Francis Wakefield) (CHARINA ECHALUCE)

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