A 13-year-old boy was shot dead while on his way home from school in Barangay Gli-gli in Pikit, Cotabato on Tuesday, according to Pikit Municipal Police Station.
His companion, a 12-year-old boy, was hurt in the incident, the police said.
Based on a police report, the victims were walking on the side of an irrigation lining past noon when the unidentified suspects, who were on the other side, interrupted and shot them.
The perpetrators then fled on foot through a bushy area, the police said.
The 13-year-old boy sustained gunshot wounds to different parts of his body resulting in his immediate death, according to the police.
Meanwhile, the other victim sustained a gunshot wound to his left arm and was brought by concerned citizens to Cruzad Medical Clinic and Hospital for treatment.
Based on the recovered fired cartridges at the crime scene, police said the firearms used by the suspects were caliber 5.56 mm and caliber 7.62 mm.
In a progress report on Wednesday, the police said investigators came up with persons of interest based on the testimony of an eye witness.
The police added that 19 more pieces of spent cartridges of 5.56 mm were recovered after going over the premises of the crime scene.
In a statement on Thursday, the Cotabato Provincial Police Office said the suspects were already positively identified by the witnesses.
The police are now preparing the necessary documents for the filing of a complaint with the Prosecutor's Office, it added.
In a statement on Wednesday, Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Benhur Abalos said they are coordinating with National Security Adviser Eduardo Año and Department of National Defense Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. to identify the perpetrators.
He added that he ordered Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Police General Rodolfo Azurin Jr. to lead the investigation.
“Our resolve on these heinous crimes will not dwindle as we continue to fulfill our mandate to protect the Filipinos,” Abalos said. —KBK, GMA Integrated News