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Emilyn’s family cries for justice

Will Emilyn Villanueva Calano, a stray bullet victim, get justice?

The grandfather of another victim three years ago certainly hopes so.

Aquilino Ella Sr. said he’s hoping that Emilyn’s family would get justice, something that has eluded them for three years now.

“’Yung sa amin, ipinagpasa-Diyos ko na lang. Kasi ang sabi sa amin, kung di mahahanap ang baril na ginamit, di uusad ang kaso,” said Aquilino, whose seven-year-old granddaughter Stephanie Nicole Ella was killed by a stray bullet in Caloocan City in 2013.

“Kung nabubuhay sana siya ngayon, pa-graduate na siya ng Grade Six,” he said during telephone interview.

Aquilino cited the eerie similarity between the deaths of Emilyn and Stephanie Nicole. “Nakakaawa sila dahil pareho rin silang inosente,” he said.

Emilyn, a 15-year-old scholar at St. James Academy, was hit by a stray bullet while watching fireworks outside their home in Malabon City just minutes before the New Year.

She went comatose and died four days later after suffering cardiac arrest.

Aquilino believes as long as one can easily own a gun in the country, stray bullet cases could not be stopped.

“Basta kasi may pambili ka, magkakaroon ka ng baril,” he said. “Ang mahirap kasi ngayon, kapag may baril, tumatapang.”

Meanwhile, Marilyn Villanueva, Emilyn’s mother, vowed to seek justice for her eldest child.

Emilyn’s death was not spared of controversy.

The Department of Health and the Malabon police had two different findings of the incident.

While Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial said Emilyn was a victim of indiscriminate firing, police maintained that the bullet that ended up in the victim’s head was meant for a barangay watchman.

On Tuesday, police filed criminal cases against Renato “Toti” Sy Jr. whom they accused of firing the gun that killed Emilyn. They said the bullet was meant for Patricio Muñoz.

On Wednesday night, Emilyn’s body was brought to the Nate Funeral Services for autopsy.

“The autopsy results will show if the shooting was close range or if it is really a stray bullet that hit Emilyn during the New Year’s revelry,” DoH spokesperson Eric Tayag said.

Tayag said the bullet that was immediately removed from Emilyn’s skull following her death could help identify the gunman.

“The bullet will be submitted to ballistic test and it can help identify the owner of the gun if it’s registered. The only problem is if it is a loose firearm,” he noted. (JAIMIE ROSE ABERIA • CHARINA ECHALUCE)

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