Ex-southern Philippine mayor among several killed in shooting at Manila area university

BenarNews staff
2022.07.24
Manila
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Ex-southern Philippine mayor among several killed in shooting at Manila area university Funeral workers carry the body of a shooting victim at the Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City, Philippines, July 24, 2022. At least three people, including a former Philippine town mayor, were killed and another was wounded in a brazen attack on Sunday by a gunman at the university campus in the capital region, officials said.
Aaron Favila/AP Photo

Updated at 11:54 a.m. ET on 2022-07-24

A gunman killed at least three people and wounded another at a law school graduation ceremony in Metro Manila on Sunday, including a former town mayor from the southern Philippines who was there to watch her daughter graduate, police and campus officials said. 

The target of the shooting at Ateneo de Manila University was Rosita Furigay, a former mayor of Lamitan town on Basilan Island, who was killed on the spot along with two others identified as her assistant, Victor George Capistrano, and a campus security guard, police said in a report.

The shooting at the campus in Quezon City took place at around 3:30 p.m. when a lone suspect shot Furigay as she was attending commencement rites for her daughter and other students, according to the police incident report. The daughter was also wounded and rushed to a hospital, where she was listed in critical condition as of Sunday night.

“We have three confirmed deaths,” said Rudy Ang, the university’s vice president for administration. He said one of those slain was the university security guard who “tried to stop the shooter.”

“The (ex) mayor’s daughter, who was one of the graduates, is in the hospital in critical condition. Shooter has been captured.”

Sunday’s attack occurred while Ateneo de Manila University and other areas in the northern part of Metropolitan Manila were on a security lockdown ahead of newly installed President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s first address before Congress, scheduled for Monday. The Philippine House of Representatives meets in a complex also located in Quezon City.

Alexander Gesmundo, chief justice of the Philippine Supreme Court, had been invited as a guest speaker for the commencement program but he immediately cancelled in the wake of the shooting, said Brian Hosaka, a spokesman for the high court.

“He was still in transit when the shooting happened and was advised to turn back,” Hosaka told reporters. “The Chief Justice is safe.”

The rest of the graduation ceremony was cancelled in the wake of the shooting, officials said.

AP22205395329620.jpg
A vehicle carrying one of the dead victims exits the Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City, Philippines, July 24, 2022. At least three people, including a former Philippine town mayor, were killed and another was wounded when a gunmen opened fire during a law school graduation ceremony at the campus in the Metro Manila region, officials said. [Aaron Favila/AP Photo]

The motive for the attack was still unknown, but political violence is common in this Southeast Asian country. The attack was the first in recent years to have occurred inside a well-secured university in Manila.

Political rivalry, especially in the local level, often times turns violent in the Philippines, where clans battle it out to establish their dominance and fiefdoms in the far-flung countryside.

In 2007, Wahab Akbar, a former Muslim separatist fighter who rose to become a congressman representing Basilan, was among three people killed in a bomb attack at the House of Representatives in Manila.

“The PNP strongly condemns this criminal act,” Brig. Gen. Roderick Augustus Alba, spokesman for the Philippine National Police, said in a statement, adding that the suspect was in custody. “We are assuring the public that this incident does not represent the entire peace and order situation in the country.”

Meanwhile, in a statement issued late Sunday, Marcos said he would commit “our law enforcement agencies to thoroughly and swiftly investigate these killings and bring all involved to justice.”

“We are shocked and saddened by the events at the Ateneo graduation today. We mourn with the bereaved, the wounded, and those whose scars from this experience will run deep,” the president said.

Camille Elemia contributed to this report from Manila, while Jeoffrey Maitem, Richel V. Umel and another BenarNews correspondent added reporting from Davao, Iligan, and Zamboanga cities in the southern Philippines.

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Wow
Jul 24, 2022 12:24 PM

A whistleblower finally snapped and took the law into his own hands.