Last Monday evening two men were shot dead by unidentified gunmen in sitio San Roque, Calinan, Davao City.
According to broadcast reports the gunmen were on board a van that blocked the way of a tricycle where the victims were on board. The gunmen then disembarked from the van and pumped several bullets to the head and body of the victims that caused their instantaneous death.
The report added that only one of the two victims was the real target of the assassins. It was, however, apparent that the gunmen could have thought of leaving no chances that there could be any witness to the crime. So, in Cebuano dialect, “Gidamay na lang ang usa nga posibli pa nga makapaila ug makatudlo sa ilaha ngadto sa kapolisan.”
Yes, we are pained with the thought that someone so young and innocent, had to die because he was with the assailants’ target at the time they had the opportunity to execute their criminal act.
We are saying this because we happen to personally know the family of the younger victim. They are our neighbors in the village where we also have our rural residence. Victim Joshua Amarillo was barely 22 years old. He is an only son of the eldest daughter of our good friend Carling Onque, one of the first few persons we knew when we arrived in Davao as a young migrant way back in the late 70’s.
Carling’s parents were Filipino “sacadas” in Hawaii. Carling and his sibling were left in Davao and despite the absence of their parents they grew up to be law abiding citizens. His parents had apparently passed on the good traits to him that he was able to instill the same discipline he had undergone to his own children.
Thus, despite the poverty that is obtaining in his family, Carling was able to raise his own kids the way they are expected by society.
The mother of the victim is working in a multi-national banana plantation company with farms some three kilometers from the house of his father Carling. As to the victim’s father we are not quite certain where he is connected.
The victim finished his senior high in a nearby public secondary school and was waiting for employment opportunities. While doing such he was driving every so often a family owned pedicab to help his parents ride through the waves in life.
Unfortunately for Joshua, his family had to live with the fact that they became related to the other victim, one Roland Saragena who was known to have several brushes with the law, including the murder of the husband of his own relative, and a farmer-businessman. Saragena was a live-in partner of the younger victim’s first cousin.
Apparently, this could be the reason why, in spite of rumors that Saragena was being “cased” by unknown individuals, Amarillo could not turn him down when he was invited by the former to have dinner with him in Calinan. That was when the shooting occurred and the life of an innocent young man was cut short by the suspects for fear of being identified.
Three of the persons earlier rumored to have knowledge of the latter crime were already killed. Saragena is reportedly the fourth in the row.
With this incident we are reminded of an old saying that “One can choose the people he wants to befriend, but he cannot choose his relatives.
In the Saragena double slay it was a situation where victim Amarillo was left without an option. The other victim was not only a relative by affinity, though still unofficial, he was also a friend he chose to be with during that most unfortunate incident.
Of course it can easily be deduced that the attackers knew Amarillo had nothing to do with the crimes allegedly committed by victim Saragena.
However, the supposed bravery of the criminals in committing the crime for a fee, is not backed up with the kind of courage as to risk their identities by a witness who had done nothing wrong except being with the target at the time of execution of the crime.
And we know the police can do something to arrest the suspects and eventually prevent a repeat of such heinous act.
That is, if they (cops) have no prior knowledge of such crime either personally or through their assets in the underworld.
We assume they have some pity left on people whose lives are suddenly put on the line just because they happened to be in the company of certain criminals both on the wrong time and at the wrong place.