by Jel Santos
“Natatakot po ako, pero susuko rin ako. Magpapalamig muna ako.”
This was the last text message sent by Gilbert Gulpo, the barangay watchman of Addition Hills wanted in connection with the death of two people in Mandaluyong Friday night.
The message was sent to barangay chairman Kent Faminial who said he hasn’t heard from Gulpo since.
Gulpo, a watchman for more than 10 years, was one of three barangay security officials who responded to an earlier shooting incident that wounded Jonalyn Ambaon.
The watchmen chased a white van which they mistakenly thought to be the getaway vehicle of two suspects identified as Salam Abdul Majid, the gunman, and his alleged accomplice Abdurakman Alfin.
While chasing, Gulpo and Ernesto Fajardo allegedly drew their guns and fired.
It turned out that the vehicle they were chasing carried the wounded Ambaon and six other passengers who were rushing her to the hospital.
The watchmen sought police backup and the chase ended on Shaw Boulevard in front of a bank where the van was riddled with bullets.
Mhory Jamon, a construction worker aboard the ill-fated van, said he saw the two barangay watchmen inside the police patrol car.
Jamon said he saw the watchmen left the scene as policemen ordered them to get out of the vehicle.
He said they were shouting that there was a wounded woman inside the van, but the policemen allegedly started opening fire.
Killed were Ambaon and Jomar Hayawun. Wounded were Eliseo Aluad and Danilo Santiago Jr., the van driver.
All 10 policemen involved in the shooting and their chief Supt. Moises Villaceran, were relieved by National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Director Oscar Albayalde.
The cops were identified as P01 Jave Arellano, P01 Tito Danao, P01 Bryan Nicolas, P01 Julius Libuen, P01 Mark Castillo, P01 Albert Buag, P02 Nel Lemuel Songalia, P01 Kim Ruflord Tibunsay, P01 Alfred Urbe; and their head Sr. Insp. Maria Cristina Vasquez.
Fajardo has surrendered to authorities and has been subjected to ballistic examination, according to Faminial.
The barangay chairman said that he’s not aware that his watchmen had guns.
“We only give our watchmen here handcuffs and wooden batons, but not guns,” said Faminial who confirmed that Majid and Alfin had previous records in the barangay.
“They have been involved in around three fights here in the past years,” he disclosed.
A dispute over a parking space in Barangay Addition Hills triggered the initial shooting.
Ambaon intervened in the altercation between Aluad, her live-in partner, and Alfin, an LPG delivery man, around 10:20 p.m.
Alfin left and later returned with Majid who shot Ambaon in the head and fled.
Mandaluyong City Mayor Menchie Abalos said the local government will extend help to all the victims recovering in the hospital and pay for the burial of Ambaon and Hayawun.
Abalos has issued a memorandum to all barangay chairmen and barangay watchmen, reminding them that they are not allowed to possess or carry firearms while performing their official functions within their respective territorial jurisdiction.