Labor leader Leody de Guzman won't say that he was the target of the shooting in Quezon, Bukidnon but pointed out that the first shot hit the person who was only a foot away from him.
The presidential candidate made the remark after his party and a group of indigenous people were shot at while hearing the complaints of the Manobo-Pulanguihon on the alleged land grabbing of some 900 hectares by a corporation identified with a local official.
The IPs allegedly were forced to move out from their ancestral domain and live on the streets. In the document provided by the tribe, it was stated that the land was given to them in July 1998.
Those injured in the shooting were identified as IP Datu Didilusan Arroyo, Bae Charita Anglao Delsocorro, Orlando Lingaolingao, Eger Dabatian, and Nanie Abella.
Asked at a news conference if he was the target of the shooting, De Guzman said, “‘Di ko masabi na ako ‘yung target, dahil alam ko naman na hindi ako taga roon."
"Posible rin pero mahirap kong ikumpirma na ako ‘yung target pero ang realidad, ‘yung tinamaan. ‘Yung unang putok tumama doon sa katabi ko na nag pagitan siguro ay one foot lang,” he added.
“Mahirap pong sabihin na ako ‘yung target. Pwede isipin pero mahirap kumpirmahin,” De Guzman said.
(I could not confirm if I was the target since I'm not from there. It’s possible but it’s difficult to confirm. The reality is that the first shot wounded the person beside me who was just a foot away. It’s hard for me to say that I was the target. We may think that but it’s hard to confirm.)
The Police Regional Office 10 (PRO 10) said it had received the report of the alleged shooting incident which occurred at 12:20 p.m. in Kiantig, San Jose, Quezon in Bukidnon.
Initial investigation showed that a group of tribal petitioners allegedly forcibly entered the private property before the alleged shooting incident.
Chairman Saidamen Pangarungan condemned the violence and said the poll body was offering additional security detail to all presidential and vice-presidential candidates upon their request.
“These incidents of violence have no place in the process of our elections," Pangarungan said in a statement.
"This is why the Comelec has been more active in pursuing peace covenants and providing decisive action if threats that disturb a peaceful election arise,” he added.
Comelec Commissioner George Garcia also denounced the attack, describing it as a “cowardly act” that should be “condemned by peace-loving Filipinos”.
“If this is an election-related incident, count the Comelec in to use all our powers to get to the bottom of this and hold accountable the culprits and face the full force of the law,” Garcia told reporters.
Also present during the incident were senatorial bets Roy Cabonegro and David D'Angelo were safe during the incident.
De Guzman, Cabonegro, and D'Angelo are safe after the shooting.
“Nandoon po ako kanina sa mismong harap kung saan nakita ko yung isang datu na talagang tumayo at he stood his ground, binaril po siya hindi siya nagpaputok sa taas, ang kanilang warning shot ay paharap sa amin. Ito pong pagtinignan niyo ang kanilang sugat nung sila ay nagpagamot, sa likod po ito ay walang justification na barilin ka sa likod. Ito po ay murder, attempted murder sa pananaw ko po, at hindi ito dapat palampasin talaga,” he said.
(I was there earlier in front of the datu and I saw that he stood his ground. He was shot. The warning shot was not upwards but towards us. If you will look at their wounds it was at their back. There is no justification to shoot them from behind. This was attempted murder. We should not let this pass.)
Cabonegro said that the IPs have talked with the NCIP for the said activity, however, the agency did not show up. -NB, GMA News