THE assistant chief of the Formal Entry (Assessment) Division of the Port of Manila (POM) and her elder sister survived a gun attack on Friday night after their car was blocked by four unidentified suspects in Magallanes, Makati City.
Police Major Gideon T. Ines Jr., chief of investigation and detection section of the Makati City Police office, identified the victims as Maricon Grafil Manalo, 56, married and resident of Parkview Homes, Sun Valley, Parañaque City and her sister, Marietta Grafil Lasac, 60, married and a resident of Sun Valley, Parañaque City.
In a talk with this writer yesterday, Ines said that past 8 pm on Friday, the victims were traversing Lapu-Lapu Street in Magallanes on board a gray Toyota Altis (DAH-4106) when another car, with four unidentified armed men on board, blocked their path near the corner of Victoria Street.
The suspects were allegedly forcing the victims to open their window and alight from their car but Manalo, who was in the driver’s seat, suddenly reversed gear in an effort to escape.
The suspects then peppered the car with bullets hitting Manalo in her left finger while Lasac, also a principal appraiser at the POM, was hit in the body. Their other companion, Cherelene Salazar, who was seated at the back, was unharmed.
The commotion then forced the suspects to escape while the victims managed to seek assistance from a nearby barangay outpost who also helped them get treatment at the Makati Medical Center.
Ines said they recovered a total of 18 shells and four spent bullets of various calibers at the crime scene. He said they are still establishing the motive behind the incident and are still waiting for the victims to make a statement as of yesterday.
However, customs employees who checked on the victims at the hospital averred the motive could have been robbery or carnapping.
Informed of the incident, Bureau of Customs (BoC) commissioner, Rey Leonardo Guerrero said he condemns “in the strongest term” the attack on Manalo and Lasac, adding the bureau would “exert all efforts to go after the perpetrators and bring them to justice.”
Guerrero also directed deputy commissioner for intelligence, Raniel Ramiro, to coordinate with the police to help solve the incident.
Friday’s incident was the second time in nearly three years that a customs official was violently attacked.
Last November 17, 2016, deputy commissioner for administration, Arturo Lachica, was killed after he was ambushed along España Street in Manila. The case remains unsolved.