Victim’s mom deplores gun policy for barangay chiefs

ALAMINOS CITY–The fear of possible abuse and misuse of the shotgun issued by the provincial government was lent credence with the recorded killing of a nurse last year.

The death of Gabriel Viray Bautista, 39, a Lucap resident, in the hands of barangay officials from neighboring Bani town, using a handgun issued by a congressman, was recalled by the victim’s mother, Clara Viray Bautista.

The 76-year old woman, dressed in black, wept bitterly before newsmen at a press conference called by Mayor Hernani Braganza on Thursday to discuss his latest advocacy: “No to shotguns and .45s”.

Her son was mercilessly gunned down on September 4, 2007 in front of the Meteor Garden Videoke Bar in Bani, by Bani barangay officials using a Caliber .45 pistol issued to one of the suspects under a similar program of 1st District Rep. Arthur Celeste, arming barangay captains.

“Many months in the past, the city suffered from violence. We do not want a repeat of that incident in our beloved city”, said Braganza fearing that more residents will fall victims with the recent arming of barangay captains in the province.

When asked why he did not raise his objection then, the mayor said he had warned against it but the media did not find it worthy as an issue then.

Three of the suspects now in police custody are Marcelo Tugas, barangay captain of Garreta,; former Barangay Captain Rico Aquino of San Miguel,; and Councilman Donald Sison, also of San Miguel. Sonny Avelino, former barangay chairman of Ambabaay, tagged as the gunman, remains at large.

All were on a drinking spree that evening when they chanced upon Bautista.

In his September 10, 2007 signed affidavit, Aquino stated that the caliber. 45 pistol used in the shooting, an Armscor bearing SN 1046871, registered under his name was issued by Celeste on December 2006. The gun is now in the custody of P/Supt. Lloyd Millan, the police chief.

Gabriel, 39, father of three children and a male nurse of the Western Pangasinan District Hospital, was with co-workers to have snacks when he was shot.

“I want justice for my only son,” wept Mrs. Bautista, adding that those responsible must be punished to the full extent of the law.

She pressed for the immediate arrest of Avelino.

The suspects not only shot Bautista to death but also commandeered their vehicle and divested the passengers of their cash, jewelry and cell phones. — LM (SundayPunch)

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