An Army corporal who shot and killed five soldiers, including two junior officers, when he went amuck in Sumisip, Basilan Thursday morning had family problems.
Philippine Army (PA) spokesman Col. Benjamin Hao revealed this Friday morning in an interview with DZRH News via Neil Ocampo’s “Arangkada Balita.” Hao identified the amok as Cpl. Tahiruddinn A. Taha, 37, a mortar gunner of Bravo Company, 64th Infantry Battalion, and a native of Indanan, Sulu.
Hao said Taha is an army integree with 12 years in service. “We have no derogatory records on Taha,” he added.
Taha was one of the many hundreds of Moro National Liberation Front fighters integrated in the military during the late 90s.
The bloody incident took place 8:45 a.m. Thursday at the multi-purpose hall at the headquarters of Bravo Company at Upper Cabengbeng, Sumisip town. 20 to 30 persons were having a bible study when Taha made his way at the back and treacherously fired on the group with his M-16 automatic rifle.
Initially, the suspect approached the duty guard and volunteered to take his place. However, the guard told Taha to comeback at around 12 noon as it was scheduled duty time.
Hao said the suspect then responded “Sige, maglalaba na lang ako (Okay, I’ll just wash my clothes.”
Hao identified the five soldiers killed by the amuck as 2nd Lt. Alvin C. Ebina, Cpl. Robert F. Jondayran, Pfc. Jessrell V. Calud, 1st Lt. Camlon Martin M. Puao and Staff Sgt. Jonathan C. Galicto.
Wounded were 1st Lt. Pada K. Guingar, Technical Sgt. Jerry C. Cardoza, Sgt. Anthony A. Bentoy, Pfc. Elber C. Noble, Pfc. Ruel M. Macalapay, Pfc. Nelson C. Calambro, Pfc. Junnel C. Cajote, Pfc. Remie L. Espanola, Jr. and Pastor Rolly Matson.
Hao said there were no indications that the suspect will go amuck as the latter had just returned from a two-week vacation to settle some “family problems.” However, fellow soldiers said Taha had become withdrawn lately.
He also said that all dead and wounded personnel were immediately airlifted to 104th Infantry Brigade headquarters in Tabiawan, Isabela for transfer to the Western Mindanao Command headquarters in Lower Calarian, Zamboanga City.
Hao said that a medical and psychological team will be deployed immediately to the affected military facility to determine the exact cause of this incident.
The Army spokesperson said that they also sought the help of the police in investigating the incident.
Hao said the victims were conducting a bible study when the suspect, described as a mortar gunner, fired his M-16 automatic rifle in a long sweeping burst.
The Army spokesperson said there were no indications that the suspect will go berserk as the latter had just returned from vacation.
However, fellow soldiers said the suspect had become withdrawn lately.
Hao said the fatalities and wounded personnel were immediately airlifted to 104th Infantry Brigade headquarters in Tabiawan, Isabela for transfer to Western Mindanao Command headquarters in Lower Calarian, Zamboanga City. (Bing Formento and Joel C. Atencio)