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Cebu customs broker shot near his office

May 1, 2008 4:59am
CEBU CITY, Philippines - A customs broker survived being shot outside his office building at the North Reclamation Area (NRA) in Barangay Mabolo, Cebu City, past 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Leonardo Refuelo Abay-Abay, 42, owns the LRA Customs Brokerage and holds office at the third floor of Gothong Building on S. Osmena St.

He was shot in the back during the attack and was taken to Perpetual Succuor Hospital for treatment. He was declared to be in stable condition at 3 p.m. yesterday.

Cebu City Police Office Director Patrocinio Comendador said all angles in the attack, including grudge and business rivalry, are still being looked into.

Sources said yesterday’s shooting was the third attempt on Abay-Abay’s life.

Abay-Abay told SPO2 Rey Cuyos, team leader of the responding Homicide Section investigators who went to the hospital, that he arrived at the NRA at 9:10 a.m.

After getting off his car, he asked his cousin Jerome, who also serves as messenger, to bring his bag and other belongings to his office.

Attack

Abay-Abay stayed behind and walked to the side of the building to check on a vacant space at the ground floor where he plans to transfer.

While he was standing, a lone gunman shot him at close range from behind. He was hit in the back and fell to the ground.

A witness said that as Abay-Abay fell, he cried out “Jerome, gipusil ko (Jerome, I was shot)."

The gunman, who escaped using a waiting motorcycle driven by an accomplice, wore a cap to partly cover his face, a black jacket, and black short pants.

Roving security guard Pedrito Guarin, who heard the gunshot and found a bloodied Abay-Abay sprawled on the ground, ran to the third floor to ask for assistance.

Lookouts

Teddy Añalucas, LRA operation supervisor, rushed Abay-Abay to the hospital.

In an interview with reporters, Añalucas said the victim told him that apart from the gunman and the motorcycle driver, two others acted as lookouts.

The two, Abay-abay told Añalucas, just stared at him and did not do anything during the attack. Witnesses said they casually walked passed the fallen Abay-Abay.

Añalucas said the slug that got embedded in Abay-Abay’s back missed the spine by a centimeter.

Both Añalucas and LRA manager Rene Doldolea told reporters that Abay-Abay is a good person and have not told him of having any enemy.

Chamber of Customs Brokers Inc. (CCBI) former president Alfredo Lanticse said Abay-Abay has no known enemies in their industry. Abay-Abay is also a fomer CCBI president.

Incumbent CCBI president Edward Cilo-Cilo said he believes the shooting is not related to his business as customs broker.

Aside from being customs brokers, Abay-Abay is an active Rotarian and was a former president of the Rotary Club of Consolacion. He is also a member of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry. - Sun.Star Cebu