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Cebu News

Violence mars PTCA induction: Ex-cop survives school shooting

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  A shooting incident targeting a controversial former policeman cut short yesterday afternoon’s induction ceremony for the Parents, Teachers, and Community Association (PTCA) officers of Labangon Bliss Elementary School on Katipunan Street in Cebu City.

 

SPO2 Armando “Ahmed” Lozano, the school’s PTCA president, was waiting for the formal induction rites when two unidentified men attacked him at the school’s covered court at around 3:30 p.m. yesterday.

Lozano became controversial in 1997 when he was linked to the killing of anti-drug crusader Alden Abi-Abi on V. Rama Street in Cebu City. He was eventually acquitted from the murder charges after it was not established he was the gunman.

As of 6 p.m. last night, doctors declared that Lozano was already out of harm’s way. He was wounded after bullets grazed his left upper arm and left stomach, but he managed to scamper to safety.

No other person was hurt in the shooting.

Before the incident, Lozano was even seen taking a selfie with Cebu City Councilor Eugenio Gabuya, who was one of the guests during the induction.

Gabuya told The FREEMAN that teachers and Lozano’s wife greeted him upon entering the school premises and he later obliged a photo with Lozano.

Initially, one of the gunmen reportedly aimed at Gabuya but the other assailant chided him saying he was not the target. Witnesses said they then heard a sound of a gun that had conked out.

Having heard of the same sound, Lozano, a 52-year-old inactive policeman, dashed to the stage along with parents, teachers, and students, before he scuttled his way to the second floor of the school building.

“About to begin na unta ta sa atong activity, pagkataod-taod nakadungog na mi og buto. Nagtuo mi nga balloon ra pero nasegundahan pa man. Pagtan-aw nako kay si sir Ahmed (victim) diay ilang puntirya,” said Ricardo Aman, the school principal.

Aman said the two gunmen wore black long sleeves and pants with bonnets and helmets.

Police Chief Inspector Clark Ariola, acting chief of Punta Princesa police, said they are still conducting further investigation to determine the motive behind the shooting, as well as the suspects.

Authorities recovered from the crime scene three empty shells, one live ammunition, and one deformed slug of caliber .45.

Ernesto Regis, a watchman at the gate, said he did not notice the two perpetrators enter the school premises. In fact, he mistook the bursts of gunfire for exploding firecrackers.

It was only until he saw the commotion that he realized something wrong had happened.

Regis further said two men were seen brandishing their guns on their way out of the school after the commotion. They rode a motorcycle parked outside, then sped off.

A Grade 2 pupil said one of the attackers barged into their classroom to look for Lozano. Thankfully, a parent faced and told the attacker the person he was looking for was not in the room. The latter walked away.

As the two gunmen were searching for their wounded target, they did not know Lozano took shelter at the Home Economics room.

There, he was administered first aid, and when it was ascertained it was already safe outside, he was then taken to a private hospital.

Aman was quick to condemn the attack, especially since it was staged inside the school and could have easily harmed children.

“Ako nanawagan sa nihimo sa krimen ngadto kang Lozano nga hunahunaon ang sunod nilang buhaton nga dili unta sa tulunghaan kay adunay daghan mga kabataan nga posibleng maamong ug ma-trauma sa ilang binuhatan,” he said.

Aman added that he will beef up the school’s security plan and ask officials of Barangay Calamba to deploy tanods in the area.  He said they only have a watchman, not a tanod, installed at the gate because there were no prior issues about peace and order in their school.

For his part, Gabuya has called on Cebu City Police Office Director Senior Supt. Royina Garma to step up police visibility in the area.

Gabuya expressed confidence he was not the target of the shooters since if it was him, then he could have easily been shot as he was standing closer to the perpetrators than Lozano.

In 2014, a judge also found Lozano and another cop guilty of robbing a businessman back in 2007. The complainant, Jay Mark Deodoro, was on his way to his store on A. Lopez Street when the two allegedly accosted him for allegedly selling illegal drugs, and then took away his wallet with P41,800 in cash, wristwatch worth P5,000, a cellular phone worth P7,000, and his driver’s license.  It remains unclear why Lozano has become inactive from the police force.  — /JMD Jeffrey I. Legara (FREEMAN)

 

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